Emerging Technology Conference
Government corruption affects all aspects of society. At the 2008 O'Reilly ETech Conference, Lawrence Lessig discusses government corruption, especially in the United States Congress. What does government get right, wrong, and where does dependence compromise effective government? Also, Lessig announces a new project designed to signal congress' support for reform, called Change Congress.
Mathematician, magician and lightening fast human calculator Arthur Benjamin delights and amazes the Etech crowd with some stunning numerical acrobatics. In an interactive, high energy performance, he demonstrates and explains the secrets of rapid mental calculation, providing a fascinating window into how the mind thinks. If you've been wondering how to square 73,542 in your head, be sure to listen through to the end of the show.
Many of the current attributes of Web 2.0 were first exposed in work done on Wall Street. Bill Janeway and Peter Blook, two Wall Street veterans, discuss some of the changes that have taken place over the last three decades in the investment banking and trading industries, like the shift from sales to use of proprietary information, the reduction of latency, and collaboration of ideas. The ideas in this discussion should give insight to anyone looking to the future of Web 2.0.
Despite amazing strides, computers are still relatively poor at performing high level activities that come naturally to the human brain. Co-founder of Palm, Inc., Jeff Hawkins, describes recent breakthroughs in the modeling of brain functions based on the theory of Hierarchical Temporal Memory. New insights into how the neocortex supports cognition, inference and prediction can be applied to a variety of problems using Hawkins' Numenta computing platform.
Developers are increasingly using Amazon, not only as a source of technical books, but also as a web services platform to build robust and scalable infrastructure. Amazon CTO, Werner Vogels, reveals how to make the most of the popular S3 service and uncovers some of the features underpinning the new EC2 (Elastic Computing Cloud) service. As a bonus for Conversations Network listeners, there's even a cameo appearance from our own Doug Kaye, who explains how Gigavox Media is exploiting the web services functionality Vogel describes.
Anthony Ravitz, Project Coordinator for Real Estate & Workplace Services at Google, talks about some initiatives undertaken at the company to foster a healthy and productive workspace. In particular, he focuses on the steps Google took in setting up solar power that it believes will last for decades and pay for itself in just seven years.
If you haven't heard about ubiquitous games yet, now is your chance to get ahead of the curve. Jane McGonigal discusses this new genre of game that integrates alternate realities with everyday life. For developers of ubiquitous games, increasing happiness and the quality of life is the top priority. McGonigal cites some examples to illustrate the concept and challenges the technology industry to evaluate their own work in terms of the happiness it generates.
Raph Koster, author of the book "A Theory of Fun for Game Design", describes the grammar of fun. He gives a checklist of ways to make social media more fun based on his work in online games. Most important is to give users context and feedback for every action they take, and that fun comes at the edge of failure.
Matt Webb is a technology consultant, designer, and principal in the design firm Schulze & Webb. In an engaging and entertaining presentation, he explains how internet concepts can transcend the realm of pixels to inspire new products that will meet the expectations of a creative and networked generation that has grown up with the internet. Blurring the boundaries between hardware, software and the web can lead to astounding creativity.
No, this is not about Harry Potter, but danah boyd (who spells her name without capital letters) borrows the terms "wizards" and "muggles" to describe the relationship between the tech industry and real world users. This lively presentation discusses how the wizards of technology are changing society and why it is important for wizards to understand the effects of their spells.