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:
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
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]
This week’s top deals from the Boing Boing Store range from lobster to wine to desk organization. 1. Get Maine Lobster (50% Off)With these discounted packages from Get Maine Lobster, you can experience the sweet, fresh flavor of world-renowned Maine lobster right at your own dinner table. There are four options to choose from, each at […]