Here are my notes from Day 1 of the World Technology Summit & Awards in New York City. My colleague at Iowa State, Dr. John Nash, and I have been having eating from Halal stands, learning about Twitter and the Iran election, and enjoying the enhanced police presence for President Obama’s speech tomorrow celebrating the 100th anniversary of the NAACP.
Jim Clark, How to save the future (and how to think about it)
the right ‘raw materials’
the right ‘catalysts’
the right questions
the right amount of focus and flexibility
the right attitude
Thinking about the future
Passive v. active players in history
The necessity of a ‘historical sense’ / awareness of trends
Worldviews (which influence what we emphasize)
Some questions raised by the concept of ‘saving the future’
How much influence do we have on our collective future?
Whose future are we saving (and how do we strike the correct balance between saving our individual and collective futures)?
How do we know what to pay attention to?
What are ‘triggers?’
Triggers are those forces or events that set into motion other larger events or trends
What types of triggers have historically had the greatest ripple effects?
Fall of a superpower and/or rise of new competing powers
Translating complex science for the general public has turned scientific research into a commodity
Many of the futuristic visions that we had in the early 20th century are here in some form (e.g., a version of X-Ray specs is at the airport; universal translators) or we’ve actively rejected them (e.g., food pills)
Do we really want a jetpack or just the idea of a jetpack (i.e., a vision of a future)?
Technology has not made us all happy, as was promised in the past
Sayah: none of the coverage you saw on CNN would have been possible without Twitter, Facebook, and some Iranian cab drivers
Drapeau: everything is now happening locally/globally
Drapeau: cyberspace is the new battle space for PR / propaganda = information warfare
Sayah: TV news is a business that makes money by getting as many viewers as possible – should TV news cater to advertisers, viewers, the citizenry? – channels will do anything to get viewers, including burying important stories for unimportant ones (e.g., Michael Jackson)