Signs of the Times - February 2013 - (Page 16)

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE Darek Johnson is ST’s Senior Technology Editor/Analyst. Email him at By Darek Johnson Is Technology Causing Us to Evolutionarily Regress? Maybe, but don’t forget Wal-Mart. “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. [It] comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” – John Wayne Playboy magazine interview,1971 A recent– Smithsonian magazine headline “Are Humans Getting Intellectually and Emotionally Stupid?” – certainly catches your interest. The magazine reported on the topic in its November 2012 edition. In part, the Smithsonian said, “The intricate web of genes that endows us with our brain power is particularly susceptible to mutations, and at the same time, our Snookie and Real Housewives-ridden society isn’t selecting against those deleterious changes.” Whether you’re a Darwin fan or not, you can see an underlying reality behind the question, especially if you’ve glimpsed any of cable-TV’s Friday-night vampire movies or driven on inner-city freeways. Smithsonian’s report was based upon a “Trends in Genetics” article published in the Cell Press journal. There, Stanford University’s Dr. Gerald Crabtree argued that the “…combination of less-selective pressure and the large number of easily affected genes is eroding our intellectual and emotional capabilities.” Crabtree suggested we might be evolutionarily regressing to a more dumb state, compared to our ancestors. He said our high intelligence might not be as stable as we believe. He said it isn’t easy to be smart (the process requires real work). He also delineated that early man required – and built – human intelligence by surviving a primitive world while outwitting both enemies and dangerous predators – although, the same statement could also apply to Arkansas Valley raccoons. The report said human-intelligence expansion may have peaked and could now be declining. It may now reside on the backside of the anthropological bell curve. Crabtree declared, however, that the loss is quite slow, and future technologies are bound to reveal solutions. Certainly, evidence of diminishing intelligence is abundant, but this column isn’t about Congress. It’s about an electronic, Internet-based, wireless future that may be someday run by Millennial Generation populace, aka the “Y” or Always-Online (AO) generation – today’s mobile- RadTech Forms LED/UV-cure Group RadTech (Bethesda, MD), the Assn. for UV and EB Technologies, has recently formed a committee that will focus and support LED-lamped, UV-cure (LED/UV-cure) technologies. RadTech believes industrial-grade, LED/UV-cure systems will become increasingly essential in radiationcure applications and wants to promote the development and integration of such technology into everyday manufacturing processes. The group will also support the development of credible information on related LED/UV-cure matters – markets, regulatory trends, benefits, limitations and new applications, for example. RadTech welcomes participation; it said the committee would soon survey and identify membership needs. The first meeting will occur on Thursday, February 28, alongside uv.eb WEST 2013: Advanced Materials Symposium, at the Redondo Beach, CA Crowne Plaza Hotel and Marina. (240) 643-0517;; 16 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / FEBRUARY 2013 / device-trained youngsters. Roughly defined, the Millennial/ AO generation comprises optimists. They follow a cynical Generation X, which follows idealistic Baby Boomers who succeeded the pragmatic WWII generation. Related to Crabtree’s report, albeit distantly, is the 2011 Pew Research Center Internet and American Life Project that asked various world specialists their viewpoints on the Millennial generation’s inevitable domination of world affairs and business operations. Meaning, these kids will eventually grow up and run things, just as the cynical Generation Xers are doing now. Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center helped with the survey. Pew designed the research to capture people’s expectations for the Internet future, and, in the process, present a snapshot of current attitudes. The project garnered interesting replies. Reminiscent of the nation’s voters, the surveyed experts were almost evenly divided. Generally, they remained middle-of-the-road and said the Millennials’ hyperconnected lifestyle was both good and bad news. Some agreed that networked youngsters who see the Internet as an external brain would become nimble analysts and decisionmakers. Others said the same factors could create instant-gratification addicts. The latter seemed to fear an Orwellian future where powerful interest groups would electronically control the population. One process could be through entertaining distractions. It’s not a new idea. In his 1970 science-fiction book, Ringworld, writer Larry Niven introduced a “Tasp” weapon that induced pleasure from a distance. Because it disabled an opponent via a distracting blast of pleasure, he depicted it as an ultimate

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - February 2013

Signs of the Times - February 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Electric
LED Update
Software Update
Technology Review
Technology Review
Sign Museum News
New Products
Dressed to Impress
Uniqlo’s In-store Digital Signage
Pursuing a Different Rout
Word on the Street Signs
Industry News
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - February 2013