|Springboard: Exploring the Digital Age: Episodes|
Episode 101 -- Getting There
Getting there is supposed to be half the fun, but these days it's getting to be twice the effort and take four times as long. This premier edition of Springboard will look at how advanced technologies are producing vehicles with new features: low-to-zero emissions, cutting-edge safety systems, futuristic computer brains, new driver control devices, etc. This edition will also look at complex computer modeling that allows programmers to predict traffic jams before they happen, as well as innovations in public transportation. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norm Minetta will be the one-on-one guest.
Episode 102 -- Who's Watching Whom?
Surveillance capabilities are extraordinarily powerful and ubiquitous, potentially permeating our emails, Web usage and everyday life. The days when only law enforcement entities were able (and allowed) to pry into our whereabouts and track our private communications are long gone. Perhaps of greatest concern: A lack of public awareness about new surveillance technologies making our lives an open book. But who reads that content? Who is conducting surveillance on whom and why? How is it being done? By examining the controversy surrounding advancements in surveillance and how they can clash with Constitutional freedoms, this edition of Springboard looks at the facts and controversies of one of high-tech's latest unforeseen consequences. Springboard talks to experts in the Biometrics field, futurists with the Institute for Global Futures, a representative with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and gets some demonstrations from PC World Magazine. This edition will also get the corporate perspective by talking with the Chief Privacy Officer at AT&T.
Episode 103 -- Size Matters
The idea of machines made of single molecules may sound like fantasy, but plenty of scientists and technologists believe that nanotechnology is going to explode in the coming years and change our lives forever in the process. Machines that permeate the human body to target cancer cells? Buildings that change their molecular makeup on their own? This edition of Springboard will reveal the latest mind-boggling developments and projections in this growing field, as well as some of the more incredible applications envisioned for machines smaller than a human cell. The program will also reveal the strong controversies that the mere prospect of nanotechnology has stirred, controversies with implications for every human on earth. And on location at NASA Ames, Springboard learns of NASA's plans to shrink space vehicles using new carbon nanotubes 10 times stronger than steel and one-sixth the weight.
Episode 104 -- Space for Sale
Currently, the only way a human can venture into space is to be selected by the government. But a growing number of companies are investing a growing number of fortunes in building businesses based on commercializing space travel. One such group is hoping to convert the Russian Mir space station into a resort and to fly its first guest there within months. Another is planning an all-new orbiting resort where, for as little as $25,000, an individual can spend two spa-like weeks. Other business models envision selling space time to researchers anxious to exploit weightlessness. This edition will examine the exciting possibilities -- and the serious controversies -- being raised by the escalating move to commercialize space.
Episode 105 -- Tech for Art's Sake
One of the areas in which technology is creating some of the most eye -- and ear-opening changes is the arts. Artists are adapting tools originally created for business and communications purposes to produce a new generation of visual and aural achievements, and technologists are fueling the change with hardware and software designed expressly for artistic expression. We'll ask whether this is really unleashing a new era in human creativity or whether a growing reliance on high-tech tools threatens to dehumanize the concept of art and blur the line between genius and mediocrity, and uniqueness and mass-production.
Episode 106 -- Whether The Weather Can Ever Be Predicted
It's no coincidence that the Weather Channel is one of the most-watched channels on cable television. This edition of Springboard will survey the latest advances in weather prediction, and the technologies and scientific breakthroughs that are putting a powerful new arsenal of prediction tools into the hands of meteorologists. The show will explore how those tools are indeed yielding long-term forecasts that are more accurate than any in history -- and how, at the same time, accurate minute-by-minute weather prediction at the local level remains largely unattainable. The program will conclude with a debate over whether the most headline-grabbing weather prediction in recent memory -- global warming -- is well on the way to wreaking havoc on our ecosystem.
Episode 107 -- CyberSelf
This edition of Springboard features an interview with world-renowned psychologist Sherry Turkle, whose research and insights into our psychological relationship to technology have opened minds (and eyes) to a side of cyberspace that involves us all, but that is understood by few. The program will move on to an examination of how going online -- to chat, surf, even simply send email -- does (or doesn't) produce changes, subtle or profound, in how we present and represent ourselves. It will also explore whether going online affects how we interact with others in the real world, and whether our online "roles" alter how we answer the question: "Who am I?"
Episode 108 -- Our Newest Old Friend, The Atom?
The power shortage that's threatening to cripple California and the rest of the country has revived interest in an energy resource once hailed as a breakthrough and then all but buried by a number of controversies: nuclear reactors. Many foes are horrified at the prospect of returning to what some see as the ultimate environmental insult. Others say 30 years of stigma have stymied advances that could, if applied, completely revolutionize atomic energy. This edition of Springboard will explore these developments and controversies, then turn to a discussion of what may be the last, greatest unanswered question: what realistically can be done to deal with nuclear waste?
Episode 109 -- The Stem Cell Conundrum
To anyone living with Parkinson's Disease, the promises of stem cell research are tantalizing but the co-opting of the research by politics is a source of frustration and anger. Others hold that tampering with the human embryo, the source of the most versatile and manageable stem cells, is a profound and unalterable evil. Springboard will explain the latest scientific discoveries about these keys to our physical existence -- and how this debate demonstrates the larger conflict between scientific advances and the beliefs common to most organized religions.
Episode 110 -- The Frontiers of Forensics
In spite of his mastery of Victorian-era forensic science and technology, Sherlock Holmes would undoubtedly be thrilled by the capabilities that high-tech tools and scientific advances have put in the hands of crime investigators. This edition of Springboard will go into a cutting edge forensics lab to see first-hand how much information can be gleaned from the most fragile bits of evidence. The show will conclude with a debate over what's by far the most controversial weapon in the forensic arsenal: DNA testing.
Episode 111 -- The Robotics Revolution
This edition looks at how science and technology are being combined to create a new generation of robotic devices that will extend human capabilities (and might alter the definition of humanity itself).
Episode 112 -- The Science of Love
This edition of Springboard will reveal the latest scientific findings about one of humanity's most powerful, elusive and mysterious states: love. The program will feature the first-ever findings of three Bay Area university researchers who have looked at love from a new perspective--that of the hard scientist searching for measurable, empirical and provable data. They'll reveal their findings about how our neural networks begin resonating in ways that unleash a range of profound feelings and forces, creating states of mind and being that are at once ecstatic and terrifying, that alter our self-identities and even our physiological state of being. A concluding discussion will focus on whether research of this sort can possibly meet true scientific criteria, or whether something so subjective as love is beyond the reach of the laboratory.
Episode 113 -- The Future of War
Springboard looks at how technology is changing the rules of war, from combat strategies to battlefield behavior. New weapons are being developed with the potential of waging bloodless conflict. But will they work and, if so, are they an appropriate response to one of humankind's oldest, most devastating traditions?
Episode 114 -- Entertainment Tomorrow
What will technology enable us to do for fun in the coming years? And might it redefine our idea of a good time to exclude the company of others?
Episode 115 -- 21st Century Baby
A look at the latest advances in human reproduction, and at the enormous ethical, legal, even spiritual questions they’re raising.
Episode 116 -- Re-Inventing Inventing
Is modern technology changing how human inventiveness works? Springboard talks to inventors of all varieties -- from high-tech honchos to kid inventors.
Episode 117 -- Scents and Sense Abilities
How scientists, chefs, sommeliers, perfume-makers, and others are dissecting the world of smells and flavors and discovering how to enhance, expand, and manipulate them.
Episode 118 -- The Age of Aging
At a time when more people are living longer than ever before in history, new discoveries about longevity and the aging process.
Episode 119 -- Small Town Tech
Surprising discoveries about what can happen when rural areas get an infusion of high technology.
Episode 120 -- Wired Sports
Springboard explores how new technologies are affecting athletes and their fans, and how they could alter the fundamental nature of sport.
Episode 121 -- The Bionic Human
In an era of amazing new developments in the science of implants, prostheses, etc., what are the promises and perils of the melding of humans and technology?
Episode 122 -- The Science of Spirit
New discoveries about the physiology of religious and spiritual experiences.
Episode 123 -- Genetics at a Crossroads
A year after the mapping of the human genome, how is this new tool being used and what are its ramifications for society?
Episode 124 -- Women are from X, Men are from Y
The latest discoveries about the origins and nature of the differences between the sexes.