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Washington State University
WSU Research Technology and Society

Technology and society

Adapting economic, social, and policy dimensions to technological change

Smart systems have the potential to make lives easier, safer, and more efficient. But in a society where privacy and personal security are hot buttons, new technologies raise new concerns. Costs of adoption must be weighed against potential risks and benefits. Policies must evolve to protect the public from roguish abuse.

At WSU, researchers explore pathways and barriers to public acceptance of smart systems. They consider how design will influence human-device interaction. They seek economically viable ways to incorporate such systems into daily life. Scholars also anticipate shifts in ideology and public policy that must go hand-in-hand with technological advances. Their work paves the way for emerging technologies to succeed in the marketplace.

Research areas

  • Public policy
  • Communications
  • Economic models and impacts
  • Ethics
  • A photo of engineers working on a machine in a lab First-of-its-kind research capability

    Revealing secrets of material behavior at extreme conditions

    While exposing a sample of silicon to extreme dynamic compression–due to the impact of a nearly 12,000 mph plastic projectile–WSU scientists documented the transformation from its common cubic diamond structure to a simple hexagonal structure. At one point, they could see both structures as the shock wave traveled through the sample in less than half a millionth of a second.

    WSU led the development of this experimental capability, which allows scientists to watch atomic-level changes unfold in the composition and behavior of materials under extreme conditions. Experiments take place in a facility called the Dynamic Compression Sector … » More …

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  • A closeup of Diane Cook Helping the elderly stay independent longer

    Homes outfitted with artificial intelligence keep a watchful eye on residents

    By the year 2020, more than 70 million Americans will be at least 60 years old. Almost all of them will prefer to live in their homes, living independently as long as possible. This creates a host of challenges as older people can struggle with daily tasks, have safety concerns, and have difficulty taking care of daily needs without assistance.

    Diane Cook, director of the Smart Homes Project in the Center for Advanced Studies in Adaptive Systems, is working to meet these challenges by designing homes that, in effect, think.

    As Cook pointed out … » More …

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