Daniel Bell, American sociologist, writer, editor, and professor emeritus at Harvard, said, “Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination.” In the past, visions of how technology would shape the future were often random musings and the ideas of individuals from various fields and disciplines. More often than not, those singular past predictions proved to be off the mark, sometimes wildly so.
Today, it’s been recognized that what’s needed to unleash human imagination in a more pragmatic and effective approach is an open platform that taps technology thought leaders—uniting those who possess the expertise to explore all the impacts of emergent, innovative technologies with all who are vested in a future that brings far-reaching benefits to society as a whole.
Answering that call is the IEEE Future Directions flagship symposium, IEEE Technology Time Machine (IEEE TTM), to be held on 31 October and 1 November. The gathering of experts in a diverse array of disciplines serves as a catalyst for compelling explorations and discussions of the emerging advancements and technologies significantly impacting humanity today, tomorrow, and beyond. Themed “Beyond Tomorrow,” the event unites researchers, thought leaders, practitioners, academics, and policymakers from around the world, providing a springboard for discourse on multiple disciplines and evolving areas. They include artificial intelligence and ethics; biological neuroprosthetics; mixed reality; programmable genomics; and entrepreneurism.
To be held at the Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa, IEEE TTM combines forward-looking keynote addresses with interactive panels led by renowned experts delivering insights needed to navigate the rapidly expanding technology landscape. The venue allows for peer-to-peer networking and opportunities for leveraging cross-disciplinary synergies. In an environment that emphasizes the importance of the people involved with technology, the symposium plays a fundamental role in guiding current and future decisions on how to implement advances for the benefit of humanity.
Probably one of the most inspiring elements of this year’s symposium is the level of participation and the high-caliber speakers. The agenda is packed with industry experts from established companies and from innovative startups, renowned individuals from academia, and some of the world’s leading technologists.
The first day kicks off with a keynote address from Jeff Fedders, IEEE Standards Association member and Intel chief strategist. He’s followed by a panel discussion that brings together female executives from Intel, Oracle, Qualcomm, and Xerox. Moderated by Alicia Abella, vice president of advanced technology realization at AT&T Services, the panel is expected to explore the role women have in shaping tech’s future. Senior Member Upkar Dhaliwal, chair of the IEEE San Diego Section, is set to moderate a panel discussion exploring how technology intertwines with agricultural food systems.
On 1 November, Associate Member Poppy Crum, chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories, is the keynote speaker. Another highlight is a lunch hosted by IEEE President and CEO Jim Jefferies.
FOCUS ON YOUNG PROFESSIONALS
The event prioritizes the upcoming generation, recognizing young professionals’ role in shaping and implementing technology in line with IEEE’s mission of serving humanity. IEEE N3XT is holding a session that explores the role of innovation and young entrepreneurship in science and engineering.
In that same vein, IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN), IEEE’s honor society, is moderating a series of lightning talks—quick, intensive discussions where IEEE-HKN members share insights into their work and its impacts on business, society, and everyday life.
Two other IEEE Future Directions events are being held in San Diego at the same time. Colocated with IEEE TTM on 30 October is the IEEE International Workshop on Symbiotic Autonomous Systems. It’s open to the public.
The IEEE Brain Initiative Workshop on Advanced NeuroTechnologies is scheduled for 1 to 2 November at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
Both workshops are designed to highlight pioneering advancements and to spotlight critical issues tied to the innovations.
Clearly, we’ve come a long way in how we view technology advancement, with an emphasis on engaging experts and taking a deep dive into likely benefits, impacts, and overall social implications. IEEE TTM has established itself as a bellwether for shaping technology development and application through thought leadership.
Life Fellow Doug Zuckerman is the TTM 2018 general chair. An active IEEE volunteer for more than 30 years, he is a past IEEE Division III communications technology director and a former president of the IEEE Communications Society.