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Generation Techs
July 10–11, 2008
Rome, Italy

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MIKE HAWLEY previews the conference (pdf) (MP3)


overview agenda

Topics include:
• Technology design
• New workplace protocols
• Knowledge/skills capture
• New interfaces
• Virtual worlds
• Technological disparities
• New media
• Language
• Free vs. fee

conference overview
Over the next 10 years, most of the one to two billion new technology users will be under 18. Consequently, we’re going to see radical changes in technology and infrastructure development, IP, education, mobility, social networks, the role of advertising, language use on the Internet, and so much more. The young will appropriate technology in new ways, because they don’t know they can't. Meanwhile, older users will do so because they must. Baby boomers reaching their 60s and 70s will demand more accessible and user-friendly technologies and Web sites.

This conference will delve into these two demographics of the user spectrum to examine what we can expect, technologically and socially, from our ever more connected world.

Internet users under 25 consider digital their way of life. They are consummate technological multitaskers. Streaming into the workforce, they type with their thumbs, communicate through countless media, and only occasionally differentiate between work and play. They consume and produce culture. They share knowledge, collaborate over distances, and work with others from diverse backgrounds. Their notions about technology and its use will immediately alter the workplace, as they press for bottom-up technology adoption. Will we see new interfaces? If so, what form will they take? What dilemma will we face with regard to still-prevalent, 20th-century issues such as intellectual property? How will identity and personality be affected?

Today's aging population constitutes the first tech-savvy retirement-age generation. Maintaining their lifestyle, staying mobile, and growing older in a way of their own choosing will be paramount. Intuitive-control features can compensate for some diminishing faculties, but more will be needed. Product designers will incorporate subtle, cutting-edge accessibility features into mass-market products. What technologies can we expect to see that will supplement and enhance human performance? How will older workers function in tomorrow’s workplace? Will they be able to impart knowledge that isn’t digitally captured? With tomorrow’s open platforms enabling us to digitize everything, including relationships, we’ll soon be taking advantage of an enhanced digital workstyle and lifestyle.

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Partial list of speakers

Mr. Dan Adler, Founder, Fanista
Mr. Lucifer Chu, Founder and CEO, Foundation of Fantasy, Culture, and Art
Dr. Urs Gasser, Director, Research Center for Information Law, University of St. Gallen
Mr. Fred Graver, Founder Remixamerica.org
Dr. Eszter Hargittai, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Northwestern University
Ms. Tan Le, Co-founder and President, Emotiv Systems (no bio)
Mr. Peter Lesser, Director of Global Technology, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Dr. Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology, Newcastle University
Ms. Laurie Racine, President, dotSUB
Mr. Aza Raskin, President, Humanized
Mr. Leisa Reichelt, User Experience Consultant, Disambiguity.com
Ms. Juliana Rotich, Executive Director, Ushandi.com (no bio)
Monsignor Marcelo SAnchez Sorondo, Chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, The Vatican
Mr. Josh Spear, Co-founder, Undercurrent
Mr. Paul Stamatiou, Founder, Skribit.com
Mr. Stefan Surzycki, Co-founder, Jooce.com
Mr. Aaron Swartz, Writer, Hacker, and Founder, Reddit.com
Dr. Sherry Turkle, Director, MIT Initiative on Technology and Self

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