President's Message

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President's Message

Ten years ago, the world marveled at the ability of social media technology to assist an entire region in its pursuit of democracy. As I write this column days after the U.S. Presidential Inauguration, the world this time is overwhelmingly appalled by the role that same technology played in a violent attempt to overturn democracy. Those who decried the shutdown of access to social media desperately implemented by authoritarian regimes applauded similar restrictions implemented by tech companies in a quest to forestall additional violence.
A little over a century and a half ago, Victor Hugo wrote “Il n’y a ni mauvaises herbes ni mauvais hommes. Il n’y a que de mauvais cultivateurs,” which translates to “there are no weeds and no bad men. There are only bad cultivators.” These two sentences provide a stark reminder of the heavy responsibility we all bear, as parents, educators, mentors, members of professional societies, and citizens of states, nations, and earth. Indeed, arguably our main goal as a professional society is to help develop our human capital. Everything else flows from there.

We continue to live through a unique experience in history. Out of concern for each other, we have voluntarily participated in essentially shutting down economic activities across the globe. We have discovered the interdependencies and precariousness of our lives and livelihoods. We have learned who and what is essential or important and have simplified our lives. We have realized the virtue of patience and self-kindness as we navigate the tremendous challenges of working from home and balancing our work obligations and family needs.

I am writing this column on the first official day of spring while “sheltering in place” in Northern California. In these uncertain times, we are all experiencing the anxiety that comes from an unpredictable situation that we do not control; the shock of seeing, perhaps for the first time, all of the shelves in grocery stores empty; and the stress of working, living, and sleeping in the same place.

I have made a concerted effort in my previous editorials to cover topics that embrace our humanity and diversity and touch on issues of social value, the environment, the universe, our history, and science. In it all, I hope that you were able to see the reach and impact of our discipline into the depths of our existence.

Many of us marveled in awe in March 2018 at the sight of the Ghana teacher who, using colored chalk, drew on his blackboard a snapshot of how an open window of the Microsoft Word software would look like on the screen of a computer...

Imagine sitting in a room where every individual is able to read every other individual’s mind. Would you lose your mind? We are living in an age where many of us have already surrendered our personal privacy to online interfaces either knowingly or by deceptive means.

It is an amazing sign of the times when the youth across many nations are uniting in their will to raise awareness about the perils of global warming and the need for immediate action.

It is an amazing sign of the times when the youth across many nations are uniting in their will to raise awareness about the perils of global warming and the need for immediate action. 

During the Christmas break, I had a mundane problem to solve. Most PCs today no longer come with disk drives. This was problematic for me since, like for many of you, my family videos are stored on CDs and DVDs.

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