This article is published in the October 2020 issue.

A General-Audience Talk: How Computing May Change Our World

Mark D. Hill

While the Computing Research Association’s Computing Community Consortium (CCC) works to catalyze the computing community for the public good, we have rarely prepared talks suitable for the non-computer-scientist public. Fortunately, CCC Chair Emeritus Mark D. Hill of the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently prepared a well-received general-audience talk for Participatory Learning And Teaching Organization (PLATO), a senior organization that arranges informative lectures, classes, and field trips, all virtual now.

Prof. Hill’s one-hour talk has the immodest title “How Computing May Change Our World” (YouTube Video & Slide PDF). It discusses that, while computing has already changed how we communicate, work, and play, more big impacts are afoot. Prof. Hill gives insight into and discusses the impacts of three important examples on the horizon:

(a) why artificial intelligence will free humans from more repetitive tasks,

(b) how quantum computing will eventually enhance discovery, and

(c) how computing and very human issues like fairness will increasingly interact.