Design News brand director Rich Nass picks two important topics for his weekly video blog: Engineers top the list of starting post-graduation salaries, and since it's the 20th anniversary of the Internet, what do you think has been the most life-changing invention of our time?
Hey Bobjengr, sounds like Mom put a bit of a kabash on engineering for your kids. Many fields, though, have their years of total consumption of time. Just look at medical. Not sure why students have turned away from engineering. Perhaps it's because we don't have a strong enough space program to inspire young people. The space program was a find inspiration for about two generations.
Rob, I'm almost embarrassed to make this comment but, I asked my three boys why they did not go into the engineering profession. I told them it was absolutely fascinating to "invent" and be on the cutting edge of technologies people could actually use to benefit their lives. "Well dad, we've talked to mom about that and she told us the first two years you were married you were in school and she only saw you on the weekends. We don't want to work that hard". Salaries aside, I feel we are losing the battle in convincing talented young people to take a look at our profession. Of course it's hard and (I'm told) studying takes away from your "beer time" but, what a great profession it is. The very fact that we are graduating fewer engineers is really a downer for me and I'm worried if we can and /or have the willingness to make the necessary corrections. I will say this, in working with engineers over the globe, the quality and resourcefulness of our guys and gals compared to theirs is quite gratifying. We clearly excel and graduate people head and shoulders above most in the world.
Cray was probably way ahead of the non-defense world. 1990 was before Al Gore sponsored the legislation that opened the Internet up to the public. I imagine you were aware of the online services back in the 1980s -- Nexus/Lexus, McGraw Hill, Dialog, Compuserve. Even Sears has an online system -- can't remember its name. Knight Ridder invest heavily in Vutron because they thought online delivery of info would someday overtake paper. Their falgship paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, was the first paper to present all of its content online.
I agree, Chuck, that 3D printing will not have anything like the impact of the Internet. We're still watching the effects of the Internet. It destroyed the newspaper industry, nearly destroyed the book industry. It turned the music model from selling recorded music to selling concert tickets. It has also impacted the gift industry, tourism industry, manufacturing, phone service, the post office, flower industry, even spare parts for all industries.
If the question is what technology "changed more lives", I don't think there is any question but the answer is the Internet. At least, I can't think of any tech development that is even close. The cell phone has made an impact but it wasn't nearly the same kind of "new" technology. Good question.
That's interesting about 3D printing, Chuck. I agree that it won't have as massive an impact as the Internet but it will still pack a pretty big punch, and I think it already is. I am actually working on something now about 3D printed body parts, and it's amazing how the technology is revolutionizing medicine. The Internet was so revolutionary because it touched and changed nearly ever aspect of our lives. 3D printing also will hit on a lot of aspects, though probably not with the same impact, as you noted.
It does seem like the Internet has been around forever, Rob. Most people in their 20's can't recall a time without the it. I can remmber the first time I heard about. I was doing a story at Cray Research. They told me how they used the Internet to exchange technical information with the national labs. I recall telling them that I had never heard of the Internet. I believe that was around 1990.
I agree, Rich, I can't think of anything in the past 20 years that has had the impact of the Internet. Cll phones are a close second, though. The editor of Wired Magazine has said that 3D printing will have a bigger impact than the Internet, but I'm not sure I buy that.
Highly regarded engineer and physicist Ransom Stephens speaks with Design News about his extensive science and engineering background, the serious yet funny study of neuroscience, and how one primes their brain for innovation.
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