PICNIC conference: technology and the future of creativity

Last week I spent three days in Amsterdam, soaking up the insights of visionaries and futurists at the PICNIC conference on technology and creativity. It was an amazing event, with almost non-stop inspiration coming from people of all walks of life.
For sure, there were pronouncements that I have not yet understood, such as “What is cool about photos is the verbs they use.”
One presenter, Addy Feuerstein, gave us a sneak-peek at his new web-based service that synchronizes all of your personal tagged and time-stamped photos (and other “digital assets”) with outside events that occurred at the same time in history. He likens his idea, AllofMe, to an ultramodern photo album. So, for instance, as you review your photographed life in chronological sequence, you can discover what music was popular the same day the photo was taken, or what happened in world history or TV trivia at the same time.
Author Clay Shirky talked about creative collaboration between total strangers, via a site like Flickr, to help launch an interest in HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography.
In short, my brain got pummeled and fluffed up, repeatedly, by a line-up of super-smart visionary thinkers, entrepreneurs, crowd-sourced cinema producers, total submersion telephone designers, techno-geeks, sociologists, philosophers, etc. Definitely cleared out any cobwebs that were clouding my mind.
An added bonus to this kind of 3-day international meeting place, is that every coffee break or lunch offers an opportunity for off-the-cuff conversations with some of these brilliant and entertaining folks.
Charles Leadbeater, author of We Think, (and personal advisor to Tony Blair about technology, society and the future), presented the first day’s keynote address. He was happy to riff on the pros and cons of GPS-tagged photos uploaded to social networking sites, and his belief that we’ve reached a critical juncture in our contemporary lens culture: “It’s as if we’ve acquired eyes all around us in a way.” You can listen to a 5 minute snippet of that conversation here.
Genevieve Ball, Ph.D., is an Anthropologist, and Director of User Experience at Intel. Her public talk was about Secrets and Lies — how every person bends or distorts the truth, on average, 6 to 200 times each day, both online and offline. She was kind enough to chat about the intersection of lying and photography during one coffee break. You can listen (too briefly) to her ideas, here.
My heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated!

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