Future Technologies | See Further Festival 2010

 Future Technologies | See Further Festival 2010. 


This event has held as part of the Royal Society‘s 350th Anniversary Celebrations, the See Further Festival held at London’s Southbank. 

Speakers were: 

  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee FRS , inventor of the World Wide Web and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
  • Stephen Fry, writer, broadcaster and technophile
  • Professor Dame Wendy Hall FRS , leading computer scientist at University of Southampton
  • Dr Jim Haseloff, synthetic biologist from University of Cambridge
  • Bill Thompson, technology critic and commentator on digital culture
  • This was quite a wide ranging discussion, focusing on the speed of technological development and how technology is likely to evolve, with comparisons and linkages being made with genetic enhancement.  I’m not sure that I agreed with some of the viewpoints or comparisons made, but it was fascinating to consider the development of the web once the digitally excluded eventually come on line.  Up to now, it was argued developments have been taken forward by an elite who probably aren’t representative of how the technology will develop in the future.  And, digitial exclusion was seen as a problem equal to lack of literacy.  

    Views were expressed on Steve Pinker’s work on how fast moving technology affects how we think, and largely pooh-poohed.  Stephen Fry argued that all new forms of knowledge have had this reception, from the printing press, through novels, cinema, TV and beyond.  

    I keep wondering why more people, like Dame Wendy Hall, don’t make the connections with what’s known about integrating IT into organisational designs, and why should it still be a surprise that most “technology problems” are “people problems”.  There’s much to be gained, surely by taking those lessons and applying them in the personal sphere. 

    Not sure what the floating silver dolphin balloon was about but it looked pretty!

    Watch the webcast here – http://royalsociety.tv/dpx_royalsociety/dpx.php?cmd=autoplay&type=solo&dpxuser=dpx_v12&pres=485

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