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How EMU is building a more technologically savvy community.

by Jeff Mortimer I

f you want to see what happens when air is misused, check out some

images of people in Beijing wearing face masks when they’re outdoors. If you want to know what happens when technology is misused, ask Samir Tout. In a TEDxEMU talk he presented earlier this year, the

we could save our breath by uttering something less obvious.


smart grids,” Tout said in his talk. “Everything is turning smart, I guess … except humans. Someone may


associate professor of information assurance in Eastern’s School of Technology Studies gave a quick tour of the dark side of our technological dependence. Hacking and malware are evolving faster than processing speeds. Unique breeds of malware grew tenfold between 2007 and 2010, from six million to 60 million. Your computer could be hacked merely by visiting a legitimate web site that’s infected, which has happened in recent memory to the sites of T e New York Times, Microsoſt , Apple, Facebook and NBC. A person with a medical device in his or her body that’s connected to a wireless network could be killed by a jolt from a hacker up to 50 feet away. “We have smart cars, smart phones,

o say that technology now pervades our lives is like saying we all need air to breathe:

argue there is an inversely proportional relationship there.” T e remark drew laughter

and applause from his audience, but what would gratify Tout even more is an awareness on the part of us humans – a

pervasive awareness, if you will – that it’s high time we turned smart, too. T at means not only educating more, way more, students for careers in keeping technology secure, but also educating the general public to be more technologically savvy. “When I was discussing some of these basic technology

mat ers with teachers back in (his native) Lebanon, I realized that most of them were not really equipped with the knowledge they need to talk to the kids, the knowledge those kids need to get into the fi eld,” Tout says. “When I came to the U.S., I thought this would be bet er, but I found it to be almost the same and that disturbed me.” As he pointed out in his talk, nine out of 10 schools in this country don’t have programming classes, and 41 of the 50 states don’t count coding classes toward math or science requirements for high school graduation—yet “systems engineer” is at or near the top of every list of the hot est future jobs. Put another way, 60% of future jobs

Eastern | FALL 2013 19


Cartoon Art by Dave Coverly

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