Office of the President

Tech Forward

Tech Forward is a series of campus conversations designed to position Michigan Tech as an internationally recognized academic thought leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend and engage in healthy dialogue centered on the following question:

How will Michigan Tech influence and adapt to five disruptive forces?

  1. Data Sources. There is an explosion of sensors and data inputs everywhere - security cameras, cell towers, cars, phones, buildings, web, social media; where we are, what we do, what we read, what we buy - plus the world around us that we don't even observe can now be sensed and data gathered - more is known about more things than ever before - and the numbers are exploding.
  2. Networks. These data sources are connected to networks - fiber optics, cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth, Near Field Communications, IOT, etc. More communication technologies are being created and everything is connected to everything; the number of things connected is exploding.
  3. Big Data. These networks collect the data on just about everything and that data becomes accessible everywhere - where it can be processed. Out of this data comes information on about any topic imaginable. Databases are exploding.
  4. Machine learning. Algorithms for extracting information from large data sets have advanced beyond our imaginations. Machines can extract information from large data sets that humans are not able to extract. Just as robots can now do tasks humans can't do, machine learning can now learn what humans have not been able to learn. Knowledge is exploding.
  5. People. The impact of Fourth Industrial Revolution will change everything. Obviously, it impacts all forms of science and engineering, but it is also impacting medicine, law, social science, government, journalism, music, entertainment, the liberal arts, in fact, every aspect of our lives. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will change everything. We must prepare ourselves as much as possible for this disruption.

*From David House, August 25, 2018