Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Professor says technology is more pervasive than we realize

Stephen Haag believes technology is more pervasive — and often more invasive — than most people realize.

An example? Iris scans can tell if a woman is pregnant.

“So if iris scans become a primary identification device, say, for example, at an ATM, then your ATM could tell you if you’re pregnant,” says Haag, associate dean for graduate programs in DU’s Daniels College of Business

It’s all part of what’s called biometrics, the study of measures of life. And Haag says more broadly, biometrics is the study of the integration of technology and the human body.

“Biometrics can provide insight into weight gain and loss, hydration, hair loss, pregnancy, diabetes and more,” he says. “If we adopt biometric technologies for identification and security — what most people think of when they envision iris scans, heat signatures or fingerprints — then we open Pandora’s box … in that organizations will then have the capability to know so much more about us.”

In his courses, Haag is sharing the latest advances, research and biometric technologies including cell rovers, Internet-enabled toilets, hand geometry and facial recognition.

“But, most important, I attempt to help students develop mental and ethical frameworks for assessing the impact of such technologies on our quality of life and privacy,” he says.

Haag will share his knowledge with alumni during DU’s alumni symposium Oct. 5–6. The symposium, Haag says, is a demonstration of the lifelong commitment DU has to its alumni.

“Our students don’t stop learning once they leave the DU campus. Why should we stop teaching them?”

The symposium is open to all alumni; the registration fee is $100 and includes attendance at both keynotes, faculty seminars and all meals during the event. Call 1-800-871-3822 for more information, or for a complete schedule, descriptions of the presentations and online registration.

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