I was able to locate the slides of Lazowska's talk. I won't summarize the talk; for that just read Aaronson's post for the highlights. But I must draw attention to the next to last slide entitled "Dispel these Myths". In that slide Lazowska highlights a whole series of myths about Computer Science research including:
- Programming is a solitary activity
- Eventually, all the programming jobs will be overseas
- Computer science lacks opportunities to make a positive impact on society
- Computer Science lacks compelling research visions
- ... and many more
Which brings me to my final point. My friend Alon (who was, until recently, a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Washington with Lazowska) had a recent blog post on SigTube. The idea is to have a short 5 minute video presentation to accompany each paper presented at a conference. The idea is that:
A 5-minute presentation (done well) can give quite a bit of information and insight about a publication, certainly more than the 100-word abstract or the paper's introduction.
I think this is a great idea. The only difficulty might be the logistics of getting all these video presentations done. If this is too hard to do, I hope conferences will at least do the following: videotape all the plenary sessions and publish them on some video sharing site. These talks are often excellent overviews of a field, where it's been and where it's going. I know I'd love to watch such talks. And I would start by watching Lazowska's talk!