Sterling's Microsoft Research talk

Bruce Sterling gave a screamingly funny talk at Microsoft Research last night, and Al Billings transcribed it on his blog.

This year I had a problem because there were 200 people in my audience and I say "Ok, everybody is going over to my house for beer!" and they say "Yay!" and 600 people show up at my party. They weren't the people in the audience. Half the people in the audience normally attend because it's on the last day and a lot of people leave anyway. They showed up and some kind of flash mob thing occurred. There was some kind of electronically assisted gathering happening at my house. Because people were showing up and they were showing up in buddy lists. It wasn't just the usual foot traffic of one and two people. There would be at half-past one…there were sudden clusters or armadas of taxis coming in from two or three directions and people would get out of the taxis and are name-checking each other and sort of clustering together and coming into the party in a mass. Guys are phone-camming the party. It's like "He's not kidding, look there's a keg here!" <snicka> <z.z.z.z.z> and off they come. Actresses are showing up, which is sort of interesting because there is never much cross-over into the film thing. Guys are coming up and saying "Bruce! Your party's full of hot chicks!" There are girls in lingerie tops with stiletto heels. They aren't actually partying. They're not eating. They're there to display themselves so they kind of swan anorexically through this crowd of unix sysadmins and they're, like… <Bruce makes really goofy surprised face> They're awe-struck. Somebody had told them that it was sort of necessary to go make the scene at the novelist's house and they sort of arrived in a bloc, united by phones, I assume, and then departed.


(Thanks, Al!)