Pop!Tech conference on the social impact of technology

The Pop!Tech conference is a four day summit that explores the deep forces shaping our collective future, the social impact of new scientific insights and emerging technologies, and the new approaches humanity is taking to address national and global challenges, with the aim to accelerate the impact of world-changing people and ideas.

It draws together world-leading speakers and 550 attendees that include some of the highest ranks of science, technology, business, the arts, culture, law and the press; the participants include Nobel Prize winners, MacArthur ‘genius’ award winners, and uncategorizable thought leaders who come together to look collectively at the future of the world.an elite annual gathering of “visionary thinkers”.

At this year’s conference, which runs from Oct. 17 to 20, the theme is “The Human Impact,” and the eclectic lineup of speakers ranges from the Grand Mufti of Bosnia to digital toy designer Caleb Chung. The list also includes Nathan Eagle, the mobility expert from the MIT Media Lab, Jonathan Harris, an interactive designer, Joe McCarthy, global mobility researcher, Dan Pink, author of “A Whole New Mind”, Steven Pinker, the preeminent cognitive scientist, and Katrin Verclas, mobile activism researcher.

This year the entire Pop!Tech conference (schedule) will be webcast for free between 9am and 6.30pm EST, October 18-20, 2007. Viewers can even submit questions to our stage live by emailing [email protected].

Videos of previous presentations are also available and I selected some that match the focus of this blog.

Losang Rabgey (26:34)
Anthropologist and Tibetan studies expert Losang Rabgey shows how technology is being used to open up Tibet to the world, as well as connect lives across the region, in ways true to their various experiences. [Most of the technology she is talking about is available on the site of the Tibetan & Himalayan Digital Library]

Bruce Sterling (08:09)
Author, journalist and contributing editor at Wired magazine Bruce Sterling understands why people get confused about new technology concepts. In what he sees as a culture war of web semantics, Bruce gets the audience’s attention with a unique call for a new vocabulary to better describe experiences with technology.

Neil Gershenfeld (26:13)
Twenty minutes may not really be enough time to fully understand the implications of the so-called Fab Lab, invented by the director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. But it’s a mind-blowing place to start!

Chris Anderson (24:32)
What happens when material things become free? Long Tail author and Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson examines new models of wealth distribution and claims we’re moving from economies of scarcity to an age of abundance.

In an effort to make conference content more accessible to a wider audience, Pop!Tech is now teaming with dotSUB.com, a new site with Web video subtitling capabilities, to offer podcasts of selected events in eight languages—including Chinese, Arabic, and Swahili.

Business Week reports on this.

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