The picturesque coastal city of Vancouver and the majestic mountains nearby are now on full display during the XXI Olympic Winter Games. They are certainly on full display on the new 42” LCD 1080p 240Hz HDTV television I purchased on my furlough day. (The sales tax for that sucker should make a significant dent in the State’s budget deficit. You’re welcome, Governor. Had I bit the bullet completely and purchased the LED version, the state would now have the resources to completely pay off the millions of dollars it owes UIC. Sorry, Chancellor. However, as I mentioned, this was done on a furlough day, so I couldn’t let myself go completely overboard.)
Although my new television image clarity is amazing, I’m not sure whether being able to count individual beads of perspiration on the faces of some of the athletes and being confronted with the multitude of layers of clown make-up on the aging faces of Bob Costas, Al Michaels, et al. are adding to my amusement or subtracting from my enjoyment during the hours I am now spending sequestered in front of a countless number of liquid crystal diodes.
It’s amazing how technology touches us every minute of every day in both good and not so good ways. A problematic IPod app, a momentary delay in downloading a You Tube video, and stepping out of a Wi-Fi zone are all examples of modern day moments of technologically-induced terror and stress our parents never had to worry about.
Part of the challenge for the Master Plan process is to try to plan a campus of the future that is flexible enough to accommodate the technology of the future. For example, when will computer labs become passé’? Will commuters telecommute on a regular basis? Will there need to be physical libraries if most, if not all, information is available electronically? What will replace Wi-Fi? Should classrooms be larger, smaller, or will they ever be no longer needed? Will international students ever have to actually come to campus to receive credits and degrees? How often will students who live in residence halls really need to go to traditional classrooms?
I was staring at a stack of VHS tapes last night wondering how I was ever going to play them again, let alone that large box of vinyl records sitting in my basement. Sometimes I wonder if there is an evil genius out there releasing one replacement piece of technology after another, just so that eventually I have to break down and buy something new. Sometimes I wonder why I’m not driving that hovercraft those futurists of yore said I would be by now so the streets would never have to be plowed and traffic jams would be a thing of the past.
Then again, sometimes, I feel like the monster in “Young Frankenstein” – “ARRGGH! FIRE - BAD!”
Question of the Week: What should the Master Planner types be thinking about when it comes to trends in technology?
Until next Friday…