This was originally going to write a list of the most exciting and most scary ideas and imminent technology developments shared at Defrag...But then I realized the lists would be identical.
“Technology is neutral,” said Amber Case, keynote presenter, cyborg anthropologist, and developer of ubiquitous, location-based technology. It’s up to us, as humans, to make it good or evil.
The most exciting ideas are also the scariest because they are the most disruptive: They have the greatest capacity to change our lives.
Here are the light and dark sides of some of the most exciting-scary ideas from Defrag 2013:
1. Information technology is becoming invisible
- According to Defrag 2013 presenters Amber Case of Esri and Tyler Phillipi of OTG Platforms, the era of interacting with the world of information via shiny glass screens was a historical anomaly, and it’s coming to a rapid end.
- Smart glasses are just a step toward ubiquitous information. Soon, instead of locked behind touch screens or even heads up displays, information will be ubiquitous in our consciousness and our vision.
Exciting: We will soon be liberated from our screens. Instead of interacting with the world through a screen, we can go back to interacting with the world directly - only this time, it will be an enhanced world. This new level of information will make us smarter, better humans, and can unlock new interpersonal interactions and relationships.
- Scary: If we can’t see technology anymore, we may forget that it’s something we can control and turn off. We might cease to realize that the information is being mediated, and that means there’s a mediator behind the scenes calling the shots. One example of this is how Google and Facebook are shaping our worldview through the information they are pushing us...See Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble for a seriously frightening wake-up call.Plus, distracting much?
- Speaker Tyler Phillipi was able to take control of his ubiquitous information technology. As long as we can remember to turn it off - which means remembering that even the invisible still exists - we should stay on the exciting side of this technological future.
2. You have the power to take control of your own data - but if you don’t, someone else will
- Big data was one of the unofficial buzzwords of Defrag 2013.
- But most speakers weren't lauding big data, they were challenging it. Many were adamant that big data is not what we think it is - it doesn't have to be big, and it's not about data: It's about insight.