Lecturer stresses need for broader research, discovery


Microsoft Vice President Dan Reed speaks at the AT&T Conference Center as part of the Austin Forum Tuesday night.

Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff

Microsoft Vice President Dan Reed regaled a full audience with stories of close friendships and portable cassette players at the AT&T Conference Center Tuesday night.

Reed, vice president of technology policy and strategy at Microsoft, addressed the megatrends of today as part of the Austin Forum, a monthly speaker series. Reed provided a helpful analogy to put things in perspective for his audience.

“Remember, free storage is like free puppies; the clean-up comes along with these things,” he said.

He also emphasized the economic and ecological toll our increasingly computer-based society is taking on the planet.

“Due to the great amount of data intensive discovery we see, it is not about being narrow and deep, but being broad and aware,” Reed said to The Daily Texan. “People who understand political science, economics, ecology and the qualities of life are necessary to adapt to the technological choices that we make as a society — it’s not only about knowing what to do but how to reform and communicate these choices we make.”

Reed cautioned that people cannot and should not avoid the consequences of technology.

“Technology is neither right nor wrong; technology simply is,” Reed said.

Jay Boisseau, director of the Texas Advanced Computing Center, found connections between Reed’s points and programs in place at UT.

“There is a need to learn to use specializations in collaborations with others — problems that face society require that individuals work together,” Boisseau said. “I consider Dr. Reed a technological visionary and mentor.”

Boisseau said the Center for Lifelong Engineering Education at the University shows the necessity of a continuation in education. The center fosters the broader knowledge Reed says is necessary, Boisseau said.

“A more integrated and rigorous curriculum is necessary,” said philosophy sophomore John Leahy, who attended the talk. “Convenience of specialization comes with cost and the University curriculum cannot be blamed. It is the responsibility of each student to go about [seeking] knowledge.”