O'Reilly's Emerging Technology Conference is my favorite geek confab of the year. The presenters aren't usually celebrity types but just supersmart nrrrds making fascinating tech and thinking about the impact of innovation on our lives. I'm really excited to be on the program committee again this year. The Call for Participation is now open and we're looking for big ideas across a huge spectrum of tech/culture, from materials science and synthetic biology to nomadism and sustainable life. From the ETech 2009 site:
ETech 2009 Call for Participation (O'Reilly)
Living, Reinvented: The Technology of Abundance and Constraints
We live in two worlds: one filled with abundance and the other with constraints. Each has its own favorite–or essential to survival–inventions and directions. Each has been deeply affected by technology.
The abundant world has access to the Internet and other educational tools, to the latest advances in medicine, to culinary choices from around the globe, and up until recently, access to "plenty of" energy. This abundance can lead to waste since most everyday objects are easier and cheaper to replace than fix. But sometimes this excess can lead to creation–a reinvention of waste–as we see in the pages of Make magazine.
The constrained world has to make do with what's available. Why scrimp and sacrifice for a computer when most people have mobile phones with an SMS server that can do the job just fine? With limited food, water, fuel, medicine, it's the people and their ideas that are often the cheapest part of the equation. Their technology looks to collaboration and connection with fewer resources–almost the opposite of the industrialized world which seeks to make each individual as effective as possible.
What technologies cross the divide? How do the two interact and cross-pollinate? On the surface, they wouldn't seem to overlap, but on deeper examination, inhabitants of both worlds learn from each other constantly.
Here are some areas at the intersection of abundance and constraint we'll be exploring at the 2009 edition of ETech, the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference:
* City Tech
* Materials & Mechanics
* Personalized Healthcare
* Mobile & The Web
* Geek Family
* Synthetic Biology
* Nomadism & Shedworking
* Sustainable Life
* Life Hacking & Information Overload
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
We just got the Sport model of the EPIKGO hoverboard at my office. Besides being terribly chic, it’s apparently bulletproof.
Ok, it’s not just solar powered. It’s also an anti-theft, waterproof marvel that keeps my phone’s power bar from ever getting into the red.Sure the idea seems obvious now – tuck a gigantic solar powered battery pack into an exposed slot and turn the wearer into a walking energy harvester. Simple maybe, but I didn’t […]
Even the most expensive pair of hi-fi headphones can’t match the feeling of bass rumbling through your body at a live show. That’s why music aficionados designed The Basslet, an accessory that reproduces that sensation from your wrist. Does it make your whole body shake with deep subs? Not really, because that would be terrifying, but […]
They probably just sleep a lot. But still, you can remotely keep an eye on them when you’re at work and missing them deeply with this HD monitor from Kodak.If you have a new puppy that destroys everything in sight, or you just want to be a little more security-conscious, this WiFi camera is a […]
Thinking of a business idea is the easy part. Doesn’t even have to be a “good” idea, you can still get people to throw money at a non-existent venture, but to do that you need to at least have something even resembling a viable business plan. Why doesn’t anyone do it then? Because building that semi-viable […]