2017-2018 Tech Talk Season

For our 2017-2018 series of Tech Talks, the Center for Technology & Society (CTS) is collaborating with the Florida Institute of Technology’s Lifelong Scholar Society. This season features an exciting mix of technology-based topics that impact society at large. For more information, please contact Scott Tilley (stilley@cts.today).

Voyager at 40: The Real Interstellar

Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 at 8:00pm at FIT (Olin 118)
Presented by Scott Tilley, PhD

Voyager 2 launched on August 20, 1977, from Cape Canaveral, with Voyager 1 closely following it on September 5. Both spacecraft are still active, traveling through space over 10 billion miles from home. This talk celebrates 40 years of scientific discovery that continues today. You’ll learn about the design and engineering of the spacecraft, the discoveries it’s made, the challenges it’s overcome, and what the future holds for this far-flung emissary from Earth. 

Note: This talk was canceled due to Hurricane Irma. It was rescheduled as a double-header with "Star Wars XL" (see below).


Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 at 5:30pm at Tradewinds (Duran Golf Club)
Presented by Scott Tilley, PhD

The federal government defines cyberbullying as "bullying that takes place using electronic technology, such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites." Cyberbullying has become a significant problem for many young people, so much so that several have taken their own lives to escape the pressure they experience. As with many advances in technology, our legal system has not kept pace. Law enforcement use the tools at their disposal to track, arrest, and prosecute offenders, but the problem persists. Many parents wonder what they can do to prevent cyberbullying from happening to their children. This talk will discuss current efforts to combat cyberbullying, including using lessons learned from defeating bullying in the real world.

Star Wars XL

Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at 8:00pm at FIT (Olin 118)
Presented by Scott Tilley, PhD

The original "Star Wars" movie debuted in 1977 — 40 years ago. The entire "Star Wars" franchise has always been larger than life, but it's roots are in a combination of the wild west, heroic romance, and science fiction. Much of the technology from "The New Hope" seemed far-fetched at the time: light sabers, the faster-than-light Millennium Falcon spacecraft, and Death Stars. With the latest "Star Wars" installment about to open, what can "The Last Jedi" teach us about our own world? Will we travel between the stars? Are we alone in the universe? Can we tell who is on the dark side? Come to this thought-provoking talk to hear more about what we can learn from "Star Wars" to ensure our survival. May the Force be with you.

Person of Interest: Big Data, Privacy, and Security

Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 at 8:00pm at FIT (Olin 118)
Presented by Scott Tilley, PhD and Tauhida Parveen, PhD

The TV show "Person of Interest" featured a powerful computer that could predict terrorist activity based on analysis of past behavior and real-time data streaming into the machine from thousands of camera and sensors. It was deployed in New York City, but its reach was much broader. If the machine spit out your Social Security number, you became a "person of interest" to the government. The show was fictional, but the machine's abilities are not. We already live in a world where we can be traced, analyzed, and surveilled without our knowledge. Is online privacy an oxymoron? How secure is your personal data today? How much is it worth? Who owns it?


Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 6:00pm at FIT (CAI)
Presented by Cliff Bragdon, PhD

Drone technology is rapidly becoming an aerial threat to transportation systems. We are developing an inventory of drone swarming and its potential impact to our 500+ FAA-certified air carrier airports in the U.S. is significant. If properly executed by terrorist groups from certain countries (which are aggressively developing advanced delivery systems), this could seriously impact airports in three areas: fuel farms or storage facilities on or near airports, communications and IT systems, and Air Traffic Control (ATC) networks. Effective counter measures and a drone management plan needs to be instituted to protect our potentially at-risk transportation based infrastructure, critical for safe, secure, and efficient mobility.

Genetic Engineering

Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 6:00pm at FIT (CAI)
Presented by Scott Tilley, PhD

Scientists had successfully edited the DNA of human embryos to remove a potentially fatal heart condition. This means that, for the first time, humans are able to change their own genome. Technically, this development is an incredible scientific advancement. The tool used for genome editing is called CRISPR-Cas9. The potential medical benefits from genome editing are significant, but so are the ethical implications. Performing experiments on human embryos is already the subject of much debate. If genome editing becomes commonplace, couples could procure "designer babies," with all the physical traits they desire. Genome editing has also been done on animals, such as pigs, to make them organ donors for humans. Are we on the path of improved health and increased longevity? Or are we revisiting the Island of Doctor Moreau?

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