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
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
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 […]
Yes, yes there is. The ultraportable Twisty Glass Mini boasts all of the simplicity of its forebear, while fitting just a little bit better in your pocket.The Mini is perfect for casual smokers, and anyone who doesn’t have the patience or fine motor skill for rolling papers. This piece keeps the convenient design of its older […]
Learning to code is a perfect way to grow your technical sophistication, and open up a host of new career options. But since most “learn to code” initiatives focus heavily on web development, it can be tough to find good resources for general-purpose computer science outside of a 4-year degree program. To get a broad […]
While many newer smartphones boast decent water resistance, most of us are still stuck with the kind of handsets that need to spend the night in a bowl of rice when they get wet. If you want to enjoy your favorite podcasts in the shower but are holding out for your next phone upgrade, this […]