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Thomas J. Frey
Immortalizing Information Technology
Wednesday, December 13, 2000
Building 3 Auditorium - 3:30 PM

(Refreshments at 3:00PM)

Goddard's Office of the Assistant Director for Information Sciences concludes the Fall 2000 GSFC Information Sciences and Technology (IS&T) Colloquium Series with Mr. Thomas J. Frey, CEO of the DaVinci Institute. Mr. Frey, whose topic is Immortalizing Information Technology, proposes the following scenario: In the year 2200, a mere 200 years in the future, an archeologist is digging through the ruins of our present civilization. He paws his way through old computers, hard drives, and various sizes and shapes of disks. For him, retrieving digital information from magnetic and optical storage devices is very painful. Paper is much more useful because it doesn't require the process of converting 'ones' and 'zeros' into understandable forms of information. Most of us have 5.25" computer disks lying around without a machine to use them on. Magnetic tapes need to be refreshed every 5 years. The new optical disks have a life expectancy of 50 to 60 years, but no one is betting that we will have machines still capable of using that form of information even 10 years from now. We live in a great transition period in the world's history. We are answering many of the great mysteries of science and uncovering rich veins of technology ore. The amount of information that we are creating is staggering. The volume is so great that much of it is getting lost just because of the sheer volume. However, the bigger problem is that we are continually changing the format of information, and every format change requires a conversion of the data to the new format. With each data conversion, people make value judgments about what information should and should not be preserved. With formats changing every five years, many generations of gatekeepers will be deciding what information will stand the test of time. Throughout this talk we will explore many opportunities surrounding the growing problem of immortalizing information technology.

Thomas Frey is an internationally recognized futurist, author, entrepreneur, and public speaker. His specialty is the future of technology and its impact on business and society. As a former IBM engineer, where he received over 270 awards for his innovative work, he has been an innovator in the high tech industry for over twenty years. His Inventions of Impact audio book takes listeners on an adventure into the future world and its many possibilities. As Senior Research Engineer for the DaVinci Institute, he tracks trends and developments throughout the globe for his fascinating leading-edge presentations. He has also been a contributing writer to The Futurist magazine. After three years of working with startup entrepreneurs and emerging technology, the DaVinci Institute has now directed its efforts towards creating a business incubator that will provide a full range of services designed to build value quickly in startup ventures. The incubator was named "PREincubator at the DaVinci Institute" as a way of projecting a willingness to work with pre-business plan stage entrepreneurs. Tom has developed unique methodologies for helping inventors and entrepreneurs to think through their primary competencies and build a solid business model with good people and good management to drive the technology.

IS&T Colloquium Committee Host: Janet Ormes