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Ultra-wideband, a key element of the digital
future, is a technology that allows many users to share a very
broad amount of a given transmission spectrum. This, by the way,
is precisely the philosophy of the Internet and of packet switching.
"Instead of dedicating channels, which is what you have
in circuit switching and the telephone system, in packet switching
you aggregate as much demand as you can and then switch packets
of information one after another," Cerf says. The result:
Usage capacity is never wasted. And that’s important in
a communications era ruled by the "convergence" of
Take the "smart phone," which Henry
Samueli ’75, M.S. ’76, Ph.D. ’80, chairman of
Broadcom Corporation and a UCLA professor of electrical engineering,
praised at the symposium as "the best invention since the
wheel." It offers messaging, e-mail, Internet access, calendar,
camera and music, all in a single device. This is the kind of
technology that allowed The Telegraph newspaper in Britain to
send mobile alerts to 5,000 people during the last World Cup soccer
competition — a beep rang every time a goal was scored.
Not just newspapers but every business that understands the power
of the digital age is connecting its processes and linking its
marketing strategies to mobile phones.
The Internet is addictive, no doubt, and that’s
not necessarily a bad thing. But such a compelling technology
also makes people vulnerable to social evils like spam and, in
the case of children, pedophilia, raising the question of whether
the Internet should be allowed to prosper without a controling
authority, whether it be a global body such as the United Nations
or a sovereign state.
"Technologists need to find preemptive solutions
to a whole sphere of problems that, for lack of a better word,
can be summed up as problems of trust," says Bran Ferren,
CEO of Applied Minds, a product-development company. "If
problems develop to a point where our politicians think they need
to fix them, then we’re in very serious trouble."