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O'Reilly Open Source Software Convention

July 17-20, 2000 in Monterey, California


The Coming Comfy Culture

Gregory Benford

Track: Conference Keynote
Date: Thursday, July 20
Time: 8:45am - 10:15am
Location: Serra I & II

In a unique and riveting Keynote, well known 'hard' science fiction author and physicist Gregory Benford asks the question "Where will cheap chips and servile software take us in a few decades? Building on his experience in constructing devices designed to communicate meaningfully across hundreds of decades (he was part of the team that developed markers for U.S. nuclear waste sites that must last 10,000 years) with his knowledge of technology, Benford looks at the future in terms of fundamental cultural shifts and what they mean. Our future digitized culture will not necessarily share our assumptions or visions. That future will enjoy an ever-attentive urban landscape, one tuned at every turn by ingratiating machines. Products will fare well if they can anticipate how well that culture will accept fine shadings of machine obedience and intrusion into personal lives. How comfy will we get before we object? Much depends upon how we see ourselves.

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