PUBLIC Talks: The Impact of Technology on Society

Wanted: More ‘Unintended Collisions’

One of several lessons learned at last night’s PUBLIC Talks event on the ever-growing consequences of technology on society.

Last night, PUBLIC hosted over 60 people to learn more about the applications and consequences — some unintended — of technology on our society.

Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Technology is changing so rapidly that disruption today looks very different than it did even five years ago, said Allen Lalonde, the IBM Canada senior executive responsible for the company’s Canadian R&D centre. That requires “demand-based innovation” and nimble thinking on the part of business, researchers, regulators, and policy-makers.    
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology President and Vice Chancellor Steven Murphy highlighted the need to “design smart spaces” that bring about “unintended collisions” to increase collaboration among those stakeholders. “It’s much tougher today to anticipate the applications and consequences of research”, so the more cross-disciplinary the approach, the greater the chance for success.  

Allen and Steven were our guests last night, part of our “PUBLIC Talks” series, held quarterly at our Toronto office. They were joined by Isabel Pedersen, Canada Research Chair in Digital Life, Media and Culture at UOIT whose research focuses on wearable computers and networked culture, and who gave great examples of how she teaches the “nimbleness” required to act creatively in today’s digital research space.

Rounding out the group was Anastasiia Prysyazhnyuk, who is completing a Masters of Health Sciences in Health Informatics and who inspired everyone gathered by describing research on real-time data capture initially developed for neonatal ICUs and is now being proposed to support health monitoring during space flights. 

We brought together these experts to showcase the forward-thinking research practices and educational methodologies at UOIT — perhaps the most innovative space in Canada you don’t even know about. About a dozen UOIT students were also here to present their work — on everything from electric vehicles to augmented reality.

At PUBLIC, we’re doing our best to create the “unintended collisions” that Steven Murphy described.

To find out more about our PUBLIC Talks and how you can take part, follow us on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter here.   

UOIT Students Showcased their Research 
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The Publicans Lent a Helping Hand
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The Panel led by Dan Dunsky featuring Anastasiia Prysyazhnyuk, Steven Murphy, Allen Lalonde and Isabel Pederson 
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