Sunday, September 18, 2005

Next Up: Take-Home Thoughts @ AC2005

The final panel discussion here at Accelerating Change 2005 had quite a line-up of people:
  • George Gilder, Gilder Technology Report
  • Joichi Ito, Neoteny
  • Steve Jurvetson, DFJ
  • Beth Noveck, NY Law School
  • Rudy Rucker,Computer Scientist, Author
  • Cecily Sommers, PUSH
Steve Jurvetson is a local VC who has a lot of foresight and great analysis skills.

Cecily Sommers talked breifly about the two constants that they watch - change and human nature - which seem to forever dictate how things occur in the future. She mentioned that collaboration is one way that we can escape our fixed beliefs of the world, and maybe see new possibilities emerge from these collaborative conversations.

Joi impressed me with his thoughts yesterday, and he mentioned that he is very involved in non-profits. He really believes that the next phase of the growth of the internet is more and more growth from the edges ... not central authorities. He commented on the evolution away from the larger commercial players - from Microsoft, to the telcos, and even Hollywood - to continue to open things up. He commented on BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and how they are starting to do their own thing when it comes to the Internet.

Beth had three core points (as "the lawyer") that she realized from the conference - the brain (understanding the individual brain, and also the collective brain - the mind of the group), inviting more people from the arts, and lastlyhow to better use technology to serve social justice.

I'm a long fan of George Gilder and his ability to synthesize such a wide range of high-level topics. What he saw in the conference is that the growth curves that we are seeing - including Moore's Law - are actually learning curves. These are reflecting human progress, and learning is a core aspect of that learning. It's all about information.

Rudy was the final panalist to comment. He commented on his new book The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul ... and how everything breaks down to computation. I like the subtitle: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning Of Life, and How To Be Happy ... pretty good.

There was a breif discussion about Intelligent Design ... and I feel that George had some good comments on this. As Rudy had suggested that the entire universe is one huge computation, George suggested that a computer is intelligence ... which would make the universe a form of natural intelligence. It was interesting to hear this discussed ... I know that I have not heard enough of the debate to truly understand the theories in depth.

Of course Intellectual Property came up in the discussion, and I liked what Joi had to say which was that he is not against IP, but he knows that it has become very skewed from what the founding fathers had intended. He added that places like Brazil and China might be screwing up now, but they have the opportunity to look at things fresh ... to think about new models, or resetting them back to where they make sense.

There was a final discussion that explored the potential threats to all of humankind ... or a big portion of it ... by all of the technology that we are creating. How do we ensure that it is not used for "bad" purposes. Even the financial aspects of capitalism were debated ... even though it has brought huge gains to the countries that have embraced it. That was a close. I'm off to the airport!


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