O’Reilly Network: O’Reilly Network — 2004 Emerging Technology Conference Coverage [Jan. 16, 2004]

Here’s a few comments from my tke on emerging tech 2004 in san diego.

First of all, Joi Ito roks. Thanks for all the fresh perspectives, the hecklebot and the sense of humour.

Secondly. The most interesting people i met so far are some of the grassroot hanging around, such as the locative.net guys

In general I have noticed 3 main themes at this years conference.

1. Blogging for Democracy.
Mondays digital democracy teach-in and a few sessions since have all been about the revolution in emocracy that was the howard dean campaign and the blogspace thing. Sorry, but it’s sometimes hard to take it seriously. It’s real rich to have americans blog about a revolution in emocray that most of all seems like a bad hack to make a basically deficit democracy function in a half-way useful manner. I would compare the us democracy to a highly monolithic incomprehensible chunck of software, and the current ‘revolution’ as some particularly effective, yet unruly perl code. It’s revolutionary only because it works, and it work only because the original code is so f…. up. No offense.

2. Social Software.
First of all, it seems to me that most of the so-called social software systems that are being talked about, i.e. orkut, friendster, linkedin etc, are very us centric. Perhaps it’s because the US is the last country to discover that daily interaction has moved away from the PC, and onto the mobile phone? Perhaps it’ just that the need to digitize your relationships and make them explicit and visual is a fundamentally american itch?
Secondly i just can’t seemt o bring myself to care about this stuff. sure, i’m on orkut and LinkedIn, and I was on Six Degrees about 5 years ago. i never used any of them for anything ensible, and while it’s ‘cool’ to surf friends of your friends profiles, it’s hard to see where it becomes useful to me, or even how i am ever going to b fascinated by these systems.

3. Mobile (cellphone) software
Sorry guys, but the US was 5 years behind, 5 years ago, and now that those 5 years have passed perhaps you’re only 3 years behind. Bring in the South Korean’s, the japanese, the estonians, even the danes. When I was in charge of mobile development at Icon Medialab in 2000/2001 we made som demo-apps which would probably still fascinate a large part of this crowd. I’m sorry, but there is nothing Emerging about cellphone systems. At least not the ones I have heard about here this week.

I want more tech and less emergence. I want more presentations like Oliver Masciarottes excellent overview of Ultra-WideBand wireless on tuesday. More Locative.net. more hacking. and specifically mor people from those other parts of the world, who bring a perspective that I haven’t already seen on the a-list bloggers sites. Oh, and don’t get me started on this whole a-list thing.