The future of the local economy will strongly feature the tech sector. So what does it look like in Rochester and the Finger Lakes?

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce has put together a regional tech conference, and it will include the following themes: clean technology; diversity in the workforce; millennials in tech; making a start-up successful; and more. We preview the conference with our guests:

We have a discussion about how technology changes…with kids! We ask our guests about phone booths, fax machines, answering machines, and other devices that are no longer part of our everyday experience. We ask what those devices are and what they did, how they’ve been replaced, and what our guests think the future of technology looks like.

In studio:

  • Natalia Barone, incoming 7th grader at School of the Arts
  • Brielle "Breezy" Graham, 6th grader who is homeschooled
  • Calina Hernandez, incoming 8th grader at Spry Middle School
  • Ethan Moyer, incoming freshman at Brockport High School
  • Paul Moyer, professor of American history at the College at Brockport

Local students are teaming up with nationally-recognized artists to learn how to use art and technology to convey messages about social justice and self-identity. It’s a partnership between the George Eastman Museum and the Out Alliance.

We hear from students in the program about what it means to use social media to express themselves, and how digital tools can make a difference in shaping causes they care about. In studio:

  • Nate Larson, artist with Larson Shindelman
  • Marni Shindelman, artist with Larson Shindelman
  • Reese Simons, recent graduate of Victor Senior High School
  • Hannah Sarnov, rising senior at Hilton High School

Some brands are using CGI in their advertising, and consumers can’t tell that the images are not real humans. Is that ethical? Will CGI define the future of advertising?

We talk to experts about this trend. Our guests:

  • Scott Malouf, attorney whose work focuses on the intersection between social media and the law
  • Anne Esse, creative director and change strategist
  • Dan Mulcahy, creative director for Bush Communications
  • Jennifer Grygiel, assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

If you’re a smartphone user, have you ever considered switching back to a “dumb” phone? According to the Pew Research Center, 95 percent of Americans own a cellphone, and the share of those that own a smartphone is 77 percent. But new research shows that there are a growing number of people who have ditched the smartphone for flip phones or other phones not connected to the Internet.

While it’s unlikely that we’ll ever be back to the days of brick phones or landlines, experts say the reasons behind the dumb phone gaining popularity – security, financial, mental health – are worth discussing. This hour, we have a conversation about technology, boundaries, and how our devices impact our health (and you can stream it on your smartphone). In studio:

  • Caitlin Whyte, reporter and host of Weekend Edition at WXXI
  • Dr. Eric Caine, M.D., former chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester
  • Mike Johansson, senior lecturer of communication at RIT, and social media consultant with Fixitology
  • Mark Sample, professor of history at MCC, and self-identified “dumb” phone user

For all of ways we use the term "Epicurean," here's something strange: the original works of Epicurus himself have never been found. It's only through letters and quotations that we glimpse his work. But what if a library on a seaside villa contains the lost works of Epicurus -- and dozens of others?

When Mount Vesuvius buried Pompeii in 79 AD, it also buried Herculaneum. That seaside estate contained a library of many scrolls, and the volcanic ash preserved the scrolls... in a manner of speaking. They look like lumps of coal, but top scientists are desperate to find a way to either unspool them without destroying them, or to use new technology to peer inside. What might we find? How could we do it? What other ancient texts are begging to be read, if we can only figure out how? Our guests:

  • Brent Seales, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science, and director of the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments at the University of Kentucky
  • Roger Easton, professor of imaging science and director of the Laboratory for Imaging of Historical Artifacts at the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Greg Heyworth, associate professor of English and Textual Science and director of the Lazarus Project at the University of Rochester


More women are adding terms like “coder” and “game developer” to their résumés, but the industry still has a long way to go to reach gender parity.

Last year, women made up 22 per cent of the game developer workforce, double the 11.5 per cent of females in the field in 2009, according to a recent study by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).

But for women like Elizabeth Canas, the road to a career in technology was less traveled when she was growing up.

“I didn’t even know what technology was!” says Canas.

Food processing using high pressure instead of heat is coming to the Finger Lakes.

Cornell University and State Senator Michael Nozzolio have announced a $600,000 state grant that will allow Cornell University's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva to purchase and install a state-of-the-art “Hiperbaric High Pressure Processing” machine.

Dean of the Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Kathryn Boor, says the equipment will ensure food safety for consumers worldwide.

That little camera on your phone? It’s a powerful tool. It can disrupt an event…or it can be a surprisingly good replacement for a much bigger, more expensive digital camera. We focus (no pun intended) on the ways a cellphone camera can be used for good and bad. Professional photographer Russ Lunn joins us to talk about how thoughtless use of phone cameras can make it hard to get good pictures of a wedding or a school play, and about some of the tricks he’s learned to make cell pictures look better. We’ll also talk with Steve Carter, organizer of Rochester’s local Instagram group called Explore Rochester, and with Ricky Figueroa, associate professor at RIT’s School of Film and Animation.

Veronica Volk / WXXI

RIT's Battery Prototyping Center was unveiled with a ceremonial ribbon cutting ceremony and tour. The facility will provide space and technology for academics and private businesses to develop new battery technologies.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says she hopes someone in this facility will make a battery that helps her phone hold a charge.

"I would pay anything to not be scrounging around the floors of JFK and LaGuardia looking for a plug in the wall so I can talk to the governor."