25 August 2009

Ideas for thought from the Symposium for the Future

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Symposium for the Future
The New Media Consortium is hosting a Symposium for the Future October 27-29 that will explore actual and potential applications of technology that could impact issues of global importance over the next five years and beyond.

To generate dialog and discussion around the topic, and to help prospective proposal writers to frame their ideas about the conference themes, the organisers invited danah boyd (Microsoft Research and the Berkman Center, Harvard), Gardner Campbell (Baylor University), and Holly Willis (The Institute for Multimedia Literacy, USC), all people who have thought quite a bit about ideas behind this symposium, to craft a series of essays from three distinct perspectives on the topic.

It is easy to fall in love with technology (alternate link)
by danah boyd, researcher at Microsoft Research New England and Fellow at the Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet and Society

“There are also no such things as “digital natives.” Just because many of today’s youth are growing up in a society dripping with technology does not mean that they inherently know how to use it. They don’t. Most of you have a better sense of how to get information from Google than the average youth. Most of you know how to navigate privacy settings of a social media tool better than the average teen. Understanding technology requires learning.”

The stars our destination (alternate link)
by Gardner Campbell, director of the Academy for Teaching and Learning at Baylor University

“Though I know these marvelous information and communication technologies we live with every day are fraught sixteen ways from Sunday, I believe they are also a kind of poem we have written together, a film we have made together, a medium that has enabled what Clay Shirky identifies as “the largest increase in expressive capability in the history of the human race” (Here Comes Everybody). That increase happened because we wanted it to, because we have not yet found the boundaries of our ambitions for connection and expression.”

Tactics and haptics and a future that’s now
by Holly Willis, director of academic programs at the University of Southern California‘s Institute for Multimedia Literacy

“We need to take seriously the significance of a vision of the future, not so much with regard to fantastic scenarios – the stuff of science fiction, which as we know, does play an important role in envisioning the future – but instead in terms of tangible, real-world realities. Why? Because when we talk about “the future” these days, we’re no longer thinking about a long, gently winding road disappearing into a distant horizon, but instead a window (or screen?) pushed up close against our noses. The temporal horizon has shrunk, and the future, as Bruce Sterling said recently at Reboot, is really about a transition happening right now.”

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