Forty years ago for Radio Times, the scientist and broadcaster James Burke predicted events in 1993. He got a lot right. So we asked him in to PM this afternoon to predict the future. The sound begins with an actor reading from the original article, written by Tony Peagam.
The interconnectedness of all things, or finding compassion in TCP/IP.
Ben Hammersley is the Prime Minister’s Ambassador to Tech City, but don’t hold that against him. He’s really quite a fascinating and charming gent and not at all a smarmy politician.
When he’s not running marathons in the Sahara desert, Ben is a writer, broadcaster and journalist. He reports on the effects of the internet on society, foreign policy, business, and culture …not just on his blog either; his writing has appeared in proper dead-tree publications like The Times, The Guardian, and Wired UK (where he is Editor at Large).
Breaking down the barriers of web publishing by embracing the rise of code education.
Jenn Lukas is a kick-ass web dev working with the mighty Happy Cog in Philadelphia. As well as speaking at conferences like JSConf, she writes for The Nerdary and has a regular column in .net magazine.
Jenn is crazy about sports. She’s also crazy about cheese. Sometimes she combines the two.
When she’s not crafting sites with the finest of web standards, Jenn teaches HTML and CSS for GirlDevelopIt. She is also a world authority on the bloody mary.
Native applications are a remnant of the Jurassic period of computer history. We will look back on these past 10 years as the time we finally grew out of our desktop mindset and started down the path of writing apps for an infinite number of platforms. As the cost of computation and connectivity plummets, manufacturers are going to put ‘interactivity’ into every device. Some of this will be trivial: my power adaptor knows it’s charging history. Some of it will be control related: my television will be grand central for my smart home. But at it’s heart, we’ll be swimming in world where every device will have ‘an app’. What will it take for us to get here, what technologies will it take to make this happen?
This talk will discuss how the principles of the open web must apply not only to prototocols but to hardware as well. How can we build a ‘DNS for hardware’ so the menagerie of devices has a chance for working together?
Scott Jenson used to work at Apple, developing the Human Interface guidelines and working on the Newton, no less. He also worked at Symbian and Google so he knows all about mobile devices of all kinds.
Scott is currently Creative Director at Frog Design where he has been writing about the coming zombie apocalypse.
Don’t panic: the next big science revolution isn’t just for asteroid miners or CERN scientists.
Just as science fiction has often shown the way to future inventions, the act of hacking is now generating prototypes that act as footholds for future explorations, discoveries and epiphanies in science. This presentation takes you on a tour of our universe (from black holes and dark matter to exoplanets and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence) and shows you how you can actively explore the final frontier through getting excited and making things.
Ariel Waldman is the founder of Spacehack.org, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration. She also organises Science Hack Day San Francisco, an event that brings together scientists, technologists, designers and people with good ideas to see what they can create in one weekend.
Spotting a theme here? Ariel is mad about science and does everything she can to make it more accessible to everyone.
Seb is known for large scale installations and events that bring people together using technology, like his interactive digital fireworks, glowstick voting, and PixelPhones - a system that connects all the smart phones together, turning each member of the audience into a single pixel of a huge pulsating display.
Hardware and software is evolving so fast that creative coders can barely keep up, and we’ve just scratched the surface of what depth sensors, projectors and smart phones are capable of.
In this down to earth session, Seb will explore how technology can create huge interactive playful events and encourage a sense of community rather than everyone having a private experience with their own screens.
Lest you think that Seb dabbles only in the realm of pixels, he has been known to use the physical world as his canvas too, making digital fireworks and projections with Processing.
“Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it. Those who can’t imagine the future are doomed to fuck it up.”
Lauren Beukes explores how fiction is a model our brains run to explore other lives and possibilities, overcome issue fatigue and fire our cultural imagination.
Lauren Beukes is the author of Zoo City, which won the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke award. That’s because it’s bloody brilliant. Seriously, if you haven’t read it, grab a copy now.
Her first novel, the excellent near-future dystopia Moxyland, was set in Cape Town, where Lauren lives with her husband and daughter. Her next book, The Shining Girls, will be set in Chicago and feature a time-travelling serial killer.
As well as being a novelist, Lauren is a journalist and has collaborated on television and comic book projects.
Jason Scott is a man on a mission — save all the things.
But what does “save” mean in the modern world, in the waterfall of personal and private data, and where do we even begin? Turning on the history-o-matic, Jason provides a backdrop to our attempts to “save”, what has been done, and what we can do. The talk will be fast-paced and loud, like a hard drive at the end of its life.
Jason Scott is a force of nature, tirelessly dedicated to preserving our digital history, from old-school game manuals to the latest social networking sites hell-bent on sucking our collective culture into “the cloud.”
He is also a documentary film maker. He made BBS: The Documentary and Get Lamp, all about text adventure games.
In the run-up to the destruction of Geocities, Jason set up Archive Team, a collective of volunteers who back up first and ask questions later. He now works for the Internet Archive, though he is at pains to point out that he does not speak for them.
And yet, despite all his achievements, Jason will probably never be as well-known as his cat Sockington, who has over a million followers on Twitter.
Toys are not idle knick-knacks: they allow us to explore otherwise impossible terrain; fire the imagination; provide sparks for structured play. They do not just entertain and delight; they stimulate and inspire. And always, they remind us of the value - and values - to be found in abstract play.
Toymaking is not an idle habit. Toys are a fertile ground for creators to work in. They offer a playful space to experiment and explore. They are a safe ground to experiment with new techniques, skills, or ideas. Though they emerge from no particular purpose, they expose purpose and meaning through their making. Toymaking ranges from making realistic simulations of life to producing highly abstract playthings. And everyone who makes things - out of paper, wood, metal, plastic, or code - has something to gain from making them.
Trying to draw a thread through what, it turns out, has been a lifetime first shaped by toymaking, and then spent making toys in idle moments, Tom will take in (amongst other things) woodwork, Markov chains, state-machines and fiddle-sticks, to examine the values of toys and toymaking to 21st-century creators.
Tom Armitage is a game designer at Hide & Seek. He’s also a hacker in the true sense of the word, wrangling code to create a Twitter account for Tower Bridge and print out eight years of links.
He writes on his blog Infovore (and elsewhere) about code and play. You should read it. It’s excellent.
He also talks about games, technology and social software.
It begins to look as if we might have been wrong. All those predictions driving us forward throughout history have brought us finally to the unexpected realisation that the future is, suddenly, no longer what it used to be. Oops.
James Burke is a living legend. Or, as he put it, “No-one under the age of fifty has heard of me and everyone over the age of fifty thinks I’m dead.”
He is a science historian, an author, and a television presenter. But calling James Burke a television presenter is like calling Mozart a busker. His 1978 series Connections and his 1985 series The Day The Universe Changed remain unparalleled pieces of television brilliance covering the history of science and technology.
Before making those astounding shows, he worked on Tomorrow’s World and went on to become the BBC’s chief reporter on the Apollo Moon missions.
His books include The Pinball Effect, The Knowledge Web, Twin Tracks and Circles.
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