Dr. Mark W. McK. Bannatyne
Chair of the Department of Design and Communication Technology, IUPUI
It would be an understatement to say that the world about us is changing at a pace unprecedented in any other era of history. If I were to try and identify the most significant influence that has pushed these changes along, I would have to name the computer.
The amazing changes in our world have not resulted simply due to the invention of the computer itself, but rather from the multitude of applications that computer has opened up to us for our own use and pleasure. Once only viewed as a means to calculate answers to complex equations, we now look in awe at the way visual information on a computer screen is hurdled across the arch of heaven from one nation to another in an endless stream of digital bits and bytes. Indeed, the computer and its associated networks have made information available to us in such quantities that a hundred lifetimes would never be long enough to capture even the smallest fraction of it all. At times, I am sure that many of us may feel this flood of information may seem more of “a solution in search of a problem” rather than the means of bringing any inquiry to a successful conclusion.
“What are we to do with this plethora of data and images?” The answer is simple, “Use what we need, and pass the rest along to other areas of discovery and learning!” With the vast wealth of visual information available to us via the computer, we can now reach out to colleagues and students in ways that were only a mere generation ago still a dream of things yet in the distant future. While an argument might certainly be made that the computer’s greatest value is shown through the visual graphics it can provide to support education, we must be careful that we do not attribute to the computer any prowess that does not exist.
Perhaps the most significant change the computer has made in our lives is the way we think about it. Where once we were told, “The computer cannot make a mistake”, we now view the computer as a valuable resource that assists us to get a job done in a manner that suits our needs. We now accept the technological change that the computer caused, not so much as a miracle that is only understood by a few, but as a tool that has become a part of our natural domain…a tool that is expected to solve many of our problems. In the final analysis, perhaps ultimately this change in our perception will be seen as the greatest change of all in our world.
We live in a remarkable technological age, but stay tuned for the best is yet to come. Join us in DCT where we will help prepare you to meet the design and communication challenges of living in the future with confidence.