O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference 2005
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An Invitation to the 4th Annual O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference

Tim O'Reilly

Rael Dornfest

Citizen engineers are throwing their warranties to the wind, hacking their TiVos, Xboxes, and home networks. Wily geeks are jacking Jetsons-like technology into their cars for music, movies, geolocation, and internet connectivity on the road. E-commerce and network service giants like Amazon, eBay, PayPal, and Google are decoupling, opening, and syndicating their services, then realizing and sharing the network effects. Professional musicians and weekend DJs are serving up custom mixes on the dance floor. Operating system and software application makers are tearing down the arbitrary walls they've built, turning the monolithic PC into a box of loosely coupled component parts and services. The massive IT infrastructure of the '90s is giving way to what analyst Doc Searls calls "do-it-yourself IT."

We see all of this as a reflection of the same trend: the mass amateurization of technology, or, as Fast Company put it, "the amateur revolution." And it's these hacks, tweaks, re-combinations, and shaping of the future we're exploring in this year's Emerging Technology Conference theme: Remix.

You'll see it in ETech's roll-up-your-sleeves tutorials, meaty and to-the-point plenary presentations, and real world focused breakout sessions. The remix spirit pervades the science-fair atmosphere of our evening events, and spills out into the hallway conversations of hackers and luminaries.

Here are just a few of the intriguing people and projects at the conference:

  • Law Professor Lawrence Lessig points the way to an open and remix-able future
  • Arthur van Hoff, Principal Engineer at TiVo, turns television into an operating system on which to build applications and to which the next level of video content can be delivered
  • Writer and technologist Cory Doctorow sees the Internet as an ecosystem, parasites and all
  • Analyst Clay Shirky espouses the value of semi-structured data in rescuing semantics from the Semantic Web
  • Noted programmer Joel Spolsky infuses character and quality into online communities through software and design choices
  • Flickr founder Stewart Butterfield opens up and lets go, embracing web services and network effects as a startup strategy
  • Hardware hackers Tom Igoe and Raffi Krikorian build small, simple microcontroller-based network objects
  • Kathy Sierra brings the latest research in cognitive science, brain chemistry, and psychology to bear on creating passionate users

The O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference celebrates the hands-on imperative of the hacker, champions an architecture of participation on which to build the future, and shines a light on the innovations coming from non-traditional sources in an effort to get them on to everybody’s radar. While the initial impact of these innovations may seem small, their ripple effects can have a huge impact in the larger computing arena. What you touch at ETech, you'll be using in the products, applications, and services of tomorrow.

And one of the best ways of making sure information is more evenly distributed is the old-fashioned gathering. At ETech, you can debate, argue, bounce ideas around, pair hack, learn from the experiences of other attendees, from the projects and prognostications of speakers, and from the products the exhibitors are actually shipping.

In short, to build the future you have to be there.

Tim O'Reilly
Founder & CEO
O'Reilly Media, Inc.

Rael Dornfest
O'Reilly Media, Inc,
CTO, Conference Program Chair


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