August 28, 2003

Hit the Breaks

Accelerating Change Conference 2003 has got to be the scariest name for a conference I've ever heard. Conclusive evidence that the high tech "visionaries" have lost all contact with the reality of earth? Their logo sure makes it seem that way, as does the inclusion of delusional fanatics Ray Kurzweil and K. Eric Drexler (peep Tim Oren's reaming of his vision.)

I mean seriously "Accelerating Change" who the fuck are we kidding? I'm all for using tech to change the world. But if we want to do it be best do it right. And that means careful and rigorous implementation of new tech, not an acceleration. If anything we need to slow down the rate of change, least we smash head long into a nightmarish future. Looks like a few in silicon valley still are taking hits of the VC crack pipe... At least they included the clear thinking Tim O'Reilly. Scary shit, from the people who brought you the dot com bubble. Can someone from the Bay's Whole Earth crew introduce the concept of sustainability to these fools?

[via Ross Mayfield's Weblog: Accelerating Change Conference 2003]

update: the above is probably at touch unfair, the organizing organization address some of these critiques on their site. 'We recognize that humanity's central choice in technology development is not a blind advocacy of acceleration, but a selective catalysis. Thus our more complete, implied, and ungainly title would be: "Institute for Selectively Accelerating Change."' But that's a cop out in my book, adding a word to dramatically change the meaning is not "ungainly" and the logo is patently absurd. But they obviously aren't quite as pie in the sky as they might be on first look. Still the overall critique holds, tech change alone is not going improve the world, the issues are far broader then these people want to admit...

Posted by Abe at August 28, 2003 04:00 PM


I'm with ya!

And let's not overlook this winner statement found on the speakers page:

"We apologize for the small number of female presenters at ACC2003."

Say what?!

Not to mention the fact that *every single* speaker is white...

Geesh folks

* Its just a title
* At least they put forth their concerns of gender imbalance smack dab on the homepage
* Dont know what to say about racial background in this case

I know that change is unpopular these days, but the fact is some technologies are changing everything quicker than we might think. This is a decidedly uncommercial conference about future trends. What's the problem?

Hi Ross,

The problem in my book is the _accelerating_ not the change. Change can be good, can be bad and usually its a complex mix. When you accelerate it you lose your ability to learn and filter. I don't see how you can accelerate change without throwing the balance towards the negative.

Our culture is racing down this highway of change at a 100 miles an hour, its all good when the road is straight, but I hear there are curves and mountains ahead, do we want to accelerate?

What I found interesting is that it wasn't obvious from the conf. program that there would be any discussion of the physical world i.e. cities, suburbs, buildings and so forth. Is the implication that the accelerating changes happens in a different sphere...that the built world just trots along while their space (wherever that is) just gallops?

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