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Next month, I am scheduled to give a short speech (three to five minutes in length) at the annual induction ceremony of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Boston. This is a bit different from the usual scientific talks that I am used to giving; there are no projectors, blackboards, or other visual aids available, and the audience of Academy members is split evenly between the humanities and the sciences (as well as people in industry and politics), so this will be an interesting new experience for me. (The last time I gave a speech was in 1985.)
My chosen topic is on the future impact of internet-based technologies on academia (somewhat similar in theme to my recent talk on this topic). I have a draft text below the fold, though it is currently too long and my actual speech is likely to be a significantly abridged version of the one below [Update, Oct 12: The abridged speech is now at the bottom of the post.] In the spirit of the theme of the talk, I would of course welcome any comments and suggestions.
For comparison, the talks from last year’s ceremony, by Jim Simons, Peter Kim, Susan Athey, Earl Lewis, and Indra Nooyi, can be found here. Jim’s chosen topic, incidentally, was what mathematics is, and why mathematicians do it.
[Update, Nov 3: Video of the various talks by myself and the other speakers (Emmylou Harris, James Earl Jones, Elizabeth Nabel, Ronald Marc George, and Edward Villela) is now available on the Academy web site here.]