What is a paradigm shift? - This is a term initially defined by Thomas Kuhn (Wikipedia) in 1962 to describe a realignment in the basic thinking or assumptions about a topic. For instance, when movies went from silent to talkies in 1927 with The Jazz Singer, that made a whole new kind of movie possible for future directors. Kuhn initially applied the term to science, but since then, it has been adapted to many different things since 1962.
By way of illustrating this, the way people conduct research nowadays is completely different than it was when I did my undergrad degree at MSU less than 20 years ago. Computers existed back then but mainly as word processors (like the fabulous Apple IIe pictured to the right); the internet also existed but not in its current incarnation. When I needed to do research on a topic, I went to the library and looked up stuff the old fashioned way: I found the info in a card catalog in a long wooden shelving unit that smelled of mildew. I wrote down a whole list of books / articles / etc. and then I went and found them on the shelves in the library; if they were there, I looked to see that the books / articles / etc. had something relevant in it about my topic. If not, it went back on the shelf. If so, it went in my backpack. When my backpack got too full, I stopped at the nearest study table and started either taking notes on the relevant info or made copies of said info (if I had enough $$). Sound like fun? Just writing that and remembering that whole process made me thankful for computers.
By the time my Master's thesis came along in 1996-97, I still did some of the searching in the Wayne State library. But, most of the grunt work (card catalog searches, humping up and down stairs, checking out book shelves) was done by ERIC, an educational search engine. I had also upgraded to a Windows 95 computer and could surf the net in its infancy. A paradigm shift had occurred in research - how it was conducted, how quickly and efficiently it could be done. But the evaluation still had to be done by a human.
My question is: what kind of FUTURE paradigm shift do you envision shaking up life as we know it? (cue R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It"). What kind of technological innovation could revolutionize our lives in the near future? What kind of scientific breakthrough or discovery could alter the course of our lives? Could an accident or a terrorist attack or unforeseen event forever change the world?
Take some time to think about what you think might change our lives like Darwin, Galileo and Freud had done.
Due Wednesday, January 21st. 250 words minimum (should take some deep thinking).