Sample Report Topics

Creative Arts

Virtual Communities

Critical Theory

Public Policy

Future of Publishing

Information Retrieval

Mass Media Views of New Technologies

Impact of Developing Technologies on the Future

Impact of New Technologies on Applied Realms

Impact of Networks on Economics

Effects of Historical Development of Communication Technologies

Role of Film and Television in Reality Shaping

The following is a sample list of topics individuals or group may form. Included are questions topics might raise. Others may be proposed or some might be combined or split.Any of the topics inclass topics may be amplified or extended as a report topic as well.

* Creative Arts -- Use of high technology and interactive media in the visual arts. Changing physical media (film to video to digital media) and distribution channels (theaters to the home) for media arts. The changing role of cultural institutions (such as museums) in an age of widespread digital distribution. Effects of a digital society on creativity (including writing). Positive potentials and possible problems of electronic exhibit, performance and publishing of individual artists without intervention by cultural gatekeepers.(Return to Top)

* Virtual Communities -- How does one-to one communication, one to many and many to many communication differ ? Is there a difference in information produced for mass consumption from that produced as part of a helping community? How can computer networks be used to help bring people together who may not have met otherwise? What is the nature of new online communities which develop without any sense of "place"? How will commercialization of networked information affect virtual communities? How can the concept of virtual community be used in a for profit web marketing scheme? How can virtual community be used to increase value added factors to involve new audience sectors in non profit endeavors? What kinds of social and legal structures have evolved in virtual communities? (Return to Top)

* Critical Theory -- From what perspectives might information be viewed as a commodity, as a value added business asset, as a ? How can we extend an analysis of representation to computer-based communication? What is the changing nature of discourse in a mediated electronic environment? What is the relationship between communications, information, and technology? What contrasting forms of ideology have been proposed to describe the information age? Is there likely to be loss or growth of physical community spaces (movie theaters, museums, and even department stores) in connection with the new "information age" or might these profit and thrive as a result of use of information based technologies? What is the likely impact of the disembodiment that will accompany virtual reality and its descendants? How do ideas regarding this differ between proponents of VR such as Jaron Lanier and detractors such as Kroker and Cook? Is the attraction to cutting-edge technologies really a form of spectacle per negative theories Lyotard, Baudrillard, Derrida, Freud, Lacan, Foucault, Habermas, Debord, etc. How do these theorists differ from positive positions expressed by contemporary "techno-shamans".(Return to Top)

* Public Policy -- What, if any, should be the role of local, state, national or international government in relation to regulating the development and use of communications technology? What are the effects of licensing the airwaves as the distinction between television, telephones, and computers begins to blur? How can the public interest best be identified and given a forum in the battles between newspapers, broadcasters, the cable companies, the telephone companies, computer companies and the entertainment industry? What are the issues around privacy raised by the new information technologies? What about the role of intellectual property? What issues are raised in the flow of information into developing countries? What are the pros and cons of privatizing the Internet? What questions arise from considering the sectors in society that form the information haves and have-nots. What are the potential consequences of implementing policies advocated by netizens who believe the virtual space of the internet should be free of intervention by all governments except the virtual government that will arise there in an organic fashion? (Return to Top)

* Future of Publishing -- How does electronic publishing change the gate keeping function? How might it affect the author reader relationship? Will electronic books, online newspapers, and on-demand news (via phone, cable, or computer) become the major delivery systems for information? What role might intelligent agents play in shaping the development? What are the technical, economic, social, and cultural issues involved in these coming into widespread use? How will these change the nature of publishing, and how will people use these published materials in new ways? What are the ethical, preservation, and copyright issues around digital publishing of visual information (photography, conventional and digital art work), auditory information (speech, music), as well as print? (Return to Top)

* Information Retrieval -- What are the issues in networked multimedia information retrieval? How can one find desired information in academic databases, in public commercial space or in private contributions on the electronic network? What does one need in order to find it(indexing, standards), retrieve it (coordinating stream data, bandwidth), find the correct portion of it (scene in a film or paragraph of text), play it (decompression, storage standards, user interface)? What are the issues involved in creating entities (such as knowbots) to search the networks for the information we need? How can we filter through large bodies of information, and what are the consequences of relying on filters? What are humans and machines each most proficient at doing in information retrieval? What are the implications for database ownership and protection?(Return to Top)

* Mass Media Views of New Technologies -- How does the contemporary mass media (television, newspapers, magazines) cover the Internet, electronic communication and related issues? What metaphors and framing devices are used, and why do those shift between distopian and utopian views? What is the interplay between the media and popular views (and do they influence one other)? What spurs the development of magazines like Wired and Internet World? How about magazines such as Mondo, Boing Boing or Hackers Digest? What is the range of publications focused on new technology and who are their audiences? (Return to Top)

*Impact of Developing Technologies on the Future
What do you think will result from current work in quantum computing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and other developing technologies?(Return to Top)

*Impact of new Technologies on Applied Realms -- Education, Business, Medicine, Law
What are effects of information explosion? How does access to so much specialized information affect training and activities within the applied realms? What new virtual communities, events, and information services have developed to serve newly perceived needs? How are day to day practices being affected?(Return to Top)

Impact of Networks on Economics
What are the effects of networks on micro and macro economic environments? What contrasting theories and practices are developing to explain current and future impacts of networks on economics? How does Kevin Kelly's swarm or hive theories translate to this realm? (Return to Top)

*Impact of Historical Development of Communication Technologies on Immediate Lived Experience -- Obvious and Hidden effects.
How have daily family, work and individual lives changed as modes of communication have changed? What are varying views (positive and negative) on effects of these technologies on children? When in their development are these technologies viewed as dangerous, utopian, pragmatically useful, or as invisible. What are physical, mental, emotional, effects and consequences for human relationships of various forms of communication technologies?(Return to Top)

*Role of Film and Television in Reality Shaping + Speculation re New Technologies in this regard.
o Films from the past to examine whether past
visions of future information technologies have come true:
Metropolis (1927), *Things to Come (1936), Just Imagine
(1930), *Wonderful World of Tomorrow (1939), Time Machine
(1960), War of the Worlds (1953), Charleston (1927, Renoir),
Transatlantic Tunnel (1935), *Woman in the Moon (Lang, 1929),
Aelita (1924), *You Can't Get There From Here: Ephemeral
Films 1946-60 (1987), To New Horizons: Ephemeral Films
1931-45 (1987), Fantastic Planet (1973)

o Films that contains visions of future information
Emphasis on how collective memory/information will be
handled, stored, destroyed: Total Recall (1990), Rollerball
(1975), *Farenheit 451 (1967), *1984 (1956, 1984), *Forbidden
Planet (1956), Solaris (1972), Dreamscape (1984), Death Watch
(1980), *Outer Limits (Robert Culp)

Emphasis on how major aspects of society will change due to
new information technologies: Matrix, They Live (1988), Wild Palms
(1993), Until the End of the World (1991), *Bladerunner
(1982), Brazil (1985), Terminator (1984), *T-2 (1991)

Examination of future societies and capabilities: The Jetsons
(1990), *THX-1138 (1971), *Star Wars Trilogy (1977, 1980,
1983), *2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Born in Flames (1982),
Tron (1982)

Role of special effects and other filmic conventions in shaping how we see the world or take as 'real'.(Return to Top)