[SIGCIS-Members] New CHM Lecture videos: UNIVAC, Bell Labs

Dag Spicer spicer at computerhistory.org
Sat Jun 23 11:26:18 PDT 2012

Dear friends,

We have recently posted two new CHM lectures to YouTube:

"From the UNIVAC to Web 2.0: Politics and the Making of a 21st Century Presidency"

Panel discussion: 
Ticker Bounds, Manager, Corporate Communications, Facebook
Christopher Lehane, Fabiani and Lehane, former special assistant to President Bill Clinton
Sarah Feinberg, Director, Policy Communications, Facebook

Moderator: Richard Tedlow, Harvard Business School

[Recorded: May 9, 2012]

Dateline: November 4, 1952: UNIVAC Predicts an Eisenhower Win! Sixty years ago this November, public opinion polls gave the 1952 Presidential election to Adlai Stevenson. UNIVAC, star of CBS' election coverage (along with a new anchor, Walter Cronkite), predicted an Eisenhower landslide. UNIVAC was right. The computer's TV debut captivated an audience already enthralled by technology and confronting new tools—and new terminology—almost daily. "UNIVAC" became synonymous with "computer" for a generation of Americans.

Although much has changed since 1952, technology and politics remain closely intertwined. We'll look at the history of using computing to poll and predict election outcomes, as well as how campaigns have used technology, as the Obama team did in 2008, to win elections. What are the implications of technology-driven campaigns and the electorate's use of social media on our republic? What are the positives and negatives associated with all of this connectivity?

The panel will also look beyond U.S. borders to discuss the possible ramifications of the Arab Spring and whether other global political shifts may be looming. Easy, global access to social media tools has definitely created a power shift -- from institutions to individuals. But what does that shift really mean -- what are the larger implications to global stability? 
URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nmn3hxDpsCE&feature=plcp

"The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation"
Author Jon Gertner in conversation with KQED's Dave Iverson

[Recorded: March 28, 2012]

Bell Laboratories, which thrived from the 1920s to the 1980s, was the most innovative and productive institution of the twentieth century. Long before America's brightest scientific minds began migrating west to Silicon Valley, they flocked to this sylvan campus in the New Jersey suburbs built and funded by AT&T. At its peak, Bell Labs employed nearly fifteen thousand people, twelve hundred of whom had PhDs. Thirteen would go on to win Nobel prizes. It was a citadel of science and scholarship as well as a hotbed of creative thinking. It was, in effect, a factory of ideas whose workings have remained largely hidden until now. 

New York Times Magazine writer Jon Gertner unveils the unique magic of Bell Labs through the eyes and actions of its scientists. These ingenious, often eccentric men would become revolutionaries, and sometimes legends, whether for inventing radio astronomy in their spare time (and on the company's dime), riding unicycles through the corridors, or pioneering the principles that propel today's technology. In these pages, we learn how radar came to be, and lasers, transistors, satellites, mobile phones, and much more. 

Even more important, Gertner reveals the forces that set off this explosion of creativity. Bell Labs combined the best aspects of the academic and corporate worlds, hiring the brightest and usually the youngest minds, creating a culture and even an architecture that forced employees in different fields to work together, in virtually complete intellectual freedom, with little pressure to create moneymaking innovations. In Gertner's portrait, we come to understand why both researchers and business leaders look to Bell Labs as a model and long to incorporate its magic into their own work. 

Join author Jon Gertner for a fascinating conversation with KQED's Dave Iverson about the people and history of Bell Labs, and the ways it fostered a culture of innovation and ideas.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e90sw6-qxmE&feature=relmfu

PS If you'd like to get automatic notices, just sign up to CHM's YouTube channel.
Dag Spicer |  Senior Curator |  Computer History Museum
Editorial Board  |  Annals of the History of Computing
1401 N. Shoreline Blvd. |  Mountain View CA  94043
Tel: +1 650 810 1035    |  Fax: +1 650 810 1055

Twitter: @ComputerHistory
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Technology married with the humanities makes our hearts sing.  -- Steve Jobs

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