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April 8, 2013

He Could Have Been on Broadway: Tech Expert David Pogue Entertains and Enlightens at ABA TECHSHOW

Photo by Alexandra Buxbaum

New York Times columnist David Pogue delivers the keynote address at the 2013 TECHSHOW (photo by Alexandra Buxbaum)

_ 2013 TECHSHOW attendees got a Broadway-style respite April 5 from detailed sessions on technology applications and the practice of law. The source may have seemed unlikely — keynote speaker David Pogue, the New York Times’ technology columnist.

Pogue introduced his talk at the Chicago event by explaining that while he is not a lawyer himself, he comes from a long family line of lawyers, including his father. He told his father upon getting his bachelor’s degree that instead of going to law school, he wanted to pursue a career as a Broadway conductor.

Dad didn’t take too kindly to the idea. But with his TECHSHOW gig, Pogue assumes his father is now happy.

“The freakin’ ABA — he is so proud of me now,” exclaimed Pogue, who did have a successful career as a Broadway conductor (which also impressed his dad, the son was quick to point out).

A best-selling how-to author who appears on CBS Sunday Morning and NOVA ScienceNow, Pogue entertained a standing-room-only crowd with his wide-ranging insights of the rapidly evolving world of technology.

He half-jokingly predicted that in the future, people will reminisce about today’s ancient technology with their kids.

“When I was your age,” he quipped, “phones were 1/8 of an inch thick. You couldn’t roll them up.”

Pogue gave a whirlwind tour of dazzling apps and other smartphone tools. Some can take your blood pressure or read your glucose levels. Others can remotely start your car. One allows a smartphone camera to view something in Spanish — such as a sign or menu — and instantly provide a mirror image in English, and vice versa.

Pogue reminded attendees that members of the younger generation handle technology differently from their elders. If young people see that someone has called them on their smartphone, they won’t bother to take the necessary steps to access and listen to the voicemail message, opting instead to simply return the call. They also tend to watch TV programs not on a television set, but on mobile devices on demand.

With developments in social and interactive media, Pogue urged the need to teach online ethics, to educate on the implications of permanence in an online world, and to instruct on establishing credibility for things found and posted online.

Pogue concluded by singing and playing a keyboard to tech-centered satires of popular songs. One, to the tune of “Y.M.C.A.,” joked about the recording industry’s legal actions against music downloaders, young and elderly alike (“You’ve Just Been Sued by the R.I.A.A.”).