Adam Schulman: How a Computer Science Major is Rewriting the Book on Technology and Society
All students can find power in thinking like computer scientists
by Katrin Schwartz
You’ve heard about them. The computer scientists who say that everyday technology is a magic digital dashboard that lets you “really look inside the numbers.”
Adam Schulman, a computer science major, couldn’t agree more. “What we create and use is key to our lives. Technology affects everything,” says Schulman, a former Colorado State University Student Union Young Alumni member, while speaking with me on-campus at Colorado State University on a weekday morning.
Students like Schulman are on the forefront of developing emerging technologies such as machine learning and deep learning—which can analyze large quantities of data to predict or build a “reasonable” amount of complex products.
“Technology is the only real solution when we’re trying to combat problems. There’s not one answer,” says Schulman. He cites a recent study that found the average American must spend 34.3 hours a week on online social media. “Technology is bringing people together in new ways, but just because something is fun or accepted doesn’t mean you should accept it because it’s popular or because you’re popular yourself.”
Time spent online may make it tempting to rely on what we already know, but if we don’t continually look for new perspectives, we’ll end up stalling or stagnating.
“When we think we know it, we subconsciously just think we’re the only ones thinking that way,” says Schulman. “When we realize our thoughts aren’t typical, there’s more room for growth. But new thinking and new perspective is important; it’s where new solutions come from.”
Schulman believes that we can inspire young people to think differently by explaining how technology is changing their world. “My generation was revolutionized by the rise of technology,” he says. “I had access to tools and information that had never been available to me before. I now work for another technology company in the Austin, Texas, area and these tools are critical to how we run our company.”
Schulman works to create positive community change by sharing how technology is changing American culture and its impact on society. He hosts a monthly conference for young entrepreneurs that meets in Austin, Texas. “We try to create opportunities for entrepreneurs in our community to start their own companies,” says Schulman. “With all of the technology that’s out there, it can be daunting to think about the hard work that goes into starting a new project.”
“These are growing pains, and while they may look scary at first, it’s important to see our potential and responsibility to change the world.”
Adam Schulman is a graduate of Colorado State University. He hopes to work in the computer science field at an international tech company in 2018.