How Best to Track Technology for Social Change

Friday, Oct. 4, 10:30 am

The mid-morning panel, “Technology for Social Change,” examined how advanced technology will bring social change around the world, especially to developing countries and less-than-democratic regimes.


Clark Gibson, professor of political science, UC San Diego

Clark Gibson, professor of political science at UC San Diego, spoke of his role as a voter-fraud monitor in such far-flung regions as Ghana, Afghanistan and China: “I believe that governments will have a harder and harder time to pull that switch. But I also know, being a cynic, that the government in many of these countries controls the infra-structure. It does come down to politics in many of these situations.”

In the next panel, under the heading “Living Longer, Living Smarter, Innovations in Longevity Research,” Larry Smarr, director of Calit2, got things underway with this assessment: “As you continue to age, your body’s natural systems are changing. You have to understand that you have 100 trillion cells in your body. The key to aging gracefully is to first to take responsibility for your body, its state of being, and that’s very counter to our current culture.”

He continued: “There are tools that science is developing how we can we take the tools to examine what we now call the ‘well-derly,’ the question of why some people live longer than others.

“It’s a moment of discovery of us, that’s a once-in-a-century moment. I’m 65 in another week or so. As a member of the baby boom generation, we have transformed this generation, from hula-hoops to being the elderly majority of this country. Very soon, you’re going to see everything focus on aging.”

Fellow panelist Deborah Szekely, health guru and founder of the world-famed Rancho La Puerta wellness spa in Tecate, and proud of her advanced age, joined the conversation with verve.

“Here in America, we’ve been lulled into thinking that what is bad for you is actually very good for you,” she said. “When people advertise to you, they are not your friends. Read labels. Think before you eat. Think about just how wrong our culture is.”

On how it feels to be her age: “I’m 91 and that’s no different from being 61, if you do the right thing. And I try to do the right thing….What we’ve doing is teaching the responsibility of taking care of ourselves. We know what to do. We just have to do it.”

On her lifelong advocacy of organic food: “We’ve done organic gardens since the early 1940s, before the war. We were called a cult back then. The concept of not introducing foreign substances into our food sources, that are not organic or natural, isn’t a new idea. I’ve always been anti-all boxes and pre-packaged foods…If we can get food out of the hands of big business, we’d be way ahead.”

There was this observation from Kunal Sarkar, co-founder and CEO of Lumos Labs, a San Francisco-based firm that commercially launched the successful learning tool, Lumosity. “This is the beginning of our journey. What we have learned in the last decade is more than what we ever learned before. It’s a very exciting place to be.”

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