Bran Ferren

Chief Creative Officer, Applied Minds, Inc.

Web2.0 High Order Bit
19 minutes, 8.9mb, recorded 2005-10-10
Bran Ferren

Bran Ferren believes that what is wrong with Web 2.0 has nothing to do with Moore's law. It's the human interfaces we have invented that are to blame for the problems. The keyboard, mouse, and monitor setup we know today is not designed for productivity but for easy training.

Alan Kay posited that the computer revolution has not yet begun; a statement Ferren agrees with and attributes to the lack of better human interfaces and context reasoning. If the computer knows who you are - or even simply that you exist - and the context in which you are searching, then it can provide you with better results. Although custom interfaces are starting to emerge, it's still almost impossible to draw accurately with a mouse. Other mature businesses do not limit themselves to a single interface or method of interaction and yet, in computing, we seem stuck on using this traditional setup, which actually imposes limits on what we can achieve.

Ferren concludes his talk by looking at some of the opportunities for changing this and describes some of the work he and his partner Daniel Hills are involved in at their company, Applied Minds, Inc.

Bran Ferren is a designer and technologist working in entertainment, product development, engineering, architecture, and the sciences. He is the former president of Research & Development and Creative Technology for Walt Disney Imagineering. Prior to that, he was the president of and senior designer for Associates & Ferren, which Disney acquired in 1993. He left Disney in 2000 to start Applied Minds Inc., with partner Danny Hillis.

Ferren received Technical Achievement Awards from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the Computer-Controlled Lightning Effects System and Laser Synchro-Cue System, as well as the Scientific and Engineering Award for an Advanced Concept Optical Printer, used for special effects cinematography. Recent awards include the 1998 Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award for lighting design, and a 2000 Kilby Award for significant contributions to society.

His projects include special visual effects for Altered States, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, The Manhattan Project, Deathtrap, and Little Shop of Horrors (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award). He directed and photographed his first feature film, Funny, in 1989.


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