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Course Description

Technology continues to move in new and very creepy ways. Hackers have figured out ways to take over your thermostat and grab control of your car on the highway. Large and small companies have fallen victim to paralyzing ransomware. We’ve even learned that nosy people can watch you through the camera in your smartphone or your Smart TV™. 

You'll learn ways in which you can minimize your digital footprint and become “info stingy”. While it’s almost impossible to erase all your digital tracks (and you’ll learn why you probably wouldn’t want to), there are certainly things you (and your family) should be doing right now to avoid problems in the future.

You'll get a glimpse into the scary world of “biohacking” – where people are using biological tools like DNA synthesizers to cook up whole new life forms. As just one example, a young man who was annoyed by his parents for smoking in the house created a customized houseplant that removes cigarette smoke odour from the air.

We’ll also look at some technologies that are “just around the corner” and that may have profound impact on the way we are born (think “designer babies”), live our lives, and even take that final step, through a concept called “blockchain death”.

This course requires no technical background and is suitable for everyone who is prepared to be a little bit creeped out. There is also enough new information for those who have taken the course previously and want to repeat it.

 

Course Details

By completion of this course, successful students will be able to:

  • Identify creepy technologies and how they work
  • Define the dimensions of technocreepiness
  • Defend your privacy against computer snoopers of all varieties

Dr. Tom Keenan, FCIPS, I.S.P.,ITCP is a Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design and an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of Calgary, as well as a Fellow of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies. He spends most of his spare time writing and has a non-fiction book coming out soon from OR Books, New York.

He was educated at Columbia University earning lots of degrees (BA, M.Sc., M.A. and Ed.D) in philosophy, mathematics, engineering and education. In addition to academic publications in the fields of privacy, security, and the implications of technology, he writes regular men's health columns for the Postmedia newspaper chain, and is National Technology Correspondent for the Business Edge News Magazine.

Tom appears frequently in the media as both an expert and a commentator. His work has appeared on a wide variety of CBC Radio and TV programs, as well as Global Television and CTV, where he is a regular contributor to Alberta Primetime on the subject of "pop culture." In 2013 he received the prestigious NSERC Award for Science Communication, joining previous laureates such as CBC's Bob Macdonald and dinosaur expert Phillip Currie. He has also won the McBain Medical Journalism Award and the Canadian Science Writers' Association Award for his CBC Ideas Series "Crimes of the Future."

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