Shawn and Ben talk about photography and cameras and lenses.
Tagged with “technology” (30)
Does success spell doom for Homo sapiens?
Tracing globalization back to its roots.
One reason lots of people don’t want to think long term these days is because technology keeps accelerating so rapidly, we assume the world will become unrecognizable in a few years and then move on to unimaginable. Long-term thinking must be either impossible or irrelevant.
The commonest shorthand term for the runaway acceleration of technology is “the Singularity”—a concept introduced by science fiction writer Vernor Vinge in 1984. The term has been enthusiastically embraced by technology historians, futurists, extropians, and various trans-humanists and post-humanists, who have generated variants such as “the techno-rapture,” “the Spike,” etc.
It takes a science fiction writer to critique a science fiction idea.
Along with being one of America’s leading science fiction writers and technology journalists, Bruce Sterling is a celebrated speaker armed with lethal wit. His books include The Zenith Angle (just out), Hacker Crackdown, Holy Fire, Distraction, Mirrorshades (cyberpunk compendium), Schismatrix, The Difference Engine (with William Gibson), Tomorrow Now, and Islands in the Net.
The Seminar About Long-term Thinking on June 10-11 was Bruce Sterling examining “The Singularity: Your Future as a Black Hole.” He treated the subject of hyper-acceleration of technology as a genuine threat worth alleviating and as a fond fantasy worth cruel dismemberment.
What if you needed a new toothbrush and all you had to do was hit print? What if doctors could print out transplantable organs and pastry chefs turned to a printer, not a kitchen, for their next creation? Ira Flatow and a panel of guests discuss 3D printing technology, how far it’s come and what a 3D-printed-future could look like.
On Start the Week Andrew Marr looks into the digital future. Nick Harkaway dismisses fears of a digital dystopia in which distracted people, caught between the real world and the screen world, are under constant surveillance. He believes we need to engage with the computers we have created, and shape our own destiny. Simon Ings is the editor of a new digital magazine, Arc, which uses science fiction to explore and explain what the future might hold for society. While Anab Jain’s design company uses scenarios and prototypes to probe emerging technologies and ideas, from headsets to help the blind to see, to everyday objects with their very own internet connection. And Charles Arthur investigates the battle for dominance of the internet with Apple, Google and Microsoft struggling to stay on top, and asks what that means for the rest of us.
Start The Week sets the cultural agenda for the week ahead, with high-profile guests discussing the ideas behind their work in the fields of art, literature, film, science, history, society and politics.
What kind of future do you want to live in? What excites or concerns you about the future? Intel Futurist Brian David Johnson poses these questions as part of The Tomorrow Project, an initiative to investigate not only the future of computing but also the broader implications on our lives and the planet. Science and technology have progressed to the point where what we build is only constrained by the limits of our own imaginations. The future is not a fixed point in front of us that we are all hurtling helplessly towards. The future is built everyday by the actions of people. The Tomorrow Project engages in ongoing discussions with superstars, science fiction authors and scientists to get their visions for the world that’s coming and the world they’d like to build.
The future is Brian David Johnson’s business. As a futurist at Intel Corporation his charter is to develop an actionable vision for computing in 2020. His work is called “future casting” – using ethnographic field studies, technology research, trend data and even science fiction to provide Intel with a pragmatic vision of consumers and computing. Along with reinventing TV, Johnson has been pioneering development in artificial intelligence, robotics, and using science fiction as a design tool. He speaks and writes extensively about future technologies in articles and scientific papers as well as science fiction short stories and novels (Fake Plastic Love, Nebulous Mechanisms: The Dr. Simon Egerton Stories and the forthcoming This Is Planet Earth). He has directed two feature films and is an illustrator and commissioned painter.
Acclaimed journalist, author and biographer James Gleick visits the RSA to tell the story of how information became the modern era’s defining quality - the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world.
From the invention of scripts and alphabets to the long misunderstood “talking drums” of Africa, James Gleick shows how information technologies changed the very nature of human consciousness.
Providing portraits of key figures including Charles Babbage, Ada Byron, Alan Turing and Claude Shannon, Gleick traces the inexorable development of our modern understanding of information to our present moment, when so often we feel we are drowning in a deluge of signs and signals, news and images, blogs and tweets.
Join James Gleick at the RSA to discover how we got here and where we are heading.
Thirty years ago we asked what we would use computers for. Now the question is what we don’t use them for. Now, through technology, we create, navigate and carry out our emotional lives. We shape our buildings, Winston Churchill argued, then they shape us. The same is true of our digital technologies. Technology has become the architect of our intimacies.
Online, we face a moment of temptation. Drawn by the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy, we conduct "risk free" affairs on Second Life and confuse the scattershot postings on a Facebook wall with authentic communication. And now, we are promised "sociable robots" that will marry companionship with convenience. Technology promises to let us do anything from anywhere with anyone. But it also drains us as we try to do everything everywhere.
We begin to feel overwhelmed and depleted by the lives technology makes possible. We may be free to work from anywhere, but we are also prone to being lonely everywhere. In a surprising twist, relentless connection leads to a new solitude. We turn to new technology to fill the void, but as technology ramps up, our emotional lives ramp down.
MIT technology and society specialist Professor Sherry Turkle has spent fifteen-years exploring our lives on the digital terrain. Based on interviews with hundreds of children and adults, she visits the RSA to describe new, unsettling relationships between friends, lovers, parents and children, and new instabilities in how we understand privacy and community, intimacy and solitude.
Chair: Aleks Krotoski, academic, journalist and host of the Guardian’s Tech Weekly.
Award-winning zoologist, science writer and author Dr Matt Ridley (UK) delivers the keynote address at the University of Melbourne’s Festival of Ideas 2011. In it he explains how genes, culture and technology evolve to drive human innovation. Ridley has published articles and reviews in The Times, Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, Literary Review, New Scientist, Prospect, New Statesman, Time, Newsweek, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Atlantic Monthly and The Economist, and written more than 10 books.
Presented by University of Melbourne, July 2011
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