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Remarkable Long Weekend (the next web, kevin kelly, cloud9, VIZTA)

“The Next Web Conference” was held in Amsterdam last week. Kevin Kelly, a prolific and sensitive person whose bio is really worth reading, gave the keynote presentation, a thorough summary of which is here. I later met with him and began our conversation by asking: “People usually ask you about what will happen in the future. What do you think will not happen? What do you think will not change?”

In response, Kelly began by touching on change; the expanding definition of intelligence, the variations on the continuum of the fullness of human life, and the disproportionate growth of the production of information. With all the change, what will remain the same, he said, was the necessity to instill a stable core in order to adapt to it. Such a core of self-awareness comes from group consciousness as we require a community to introduce a sense of self. With a stable core, change can actually allow us to deepen our sense of self and collective values.

Kelly then spoke of another thing that will not change. The scarcity of attention is one of the chief limiting factors of our experience of the web. We can only process a certain amount of information in a meaningful way. His thoughts echo a central argument from a recent book I read of Thomas Zengotita, called Mediated, in which he expounds on the subject of the attention econy: “in an age of relentless and ubiquitous representation, the scarcest resource is attention.”

Kevin and I later joined Martijn Pater on his houseboat where they shared stories of their extended travels through Asia two decades apart. Martijn recently returned from a 6 month motorcycle trip to Siberia and back, which he documented on his blog. In Mongolia, he met a group of people who make felt, and got the idea to commission unique handcrafted ipod cases. And so, Cloud9 was born.

Jean-Francois Groff was also visiting, promoting VIZTA, his new online platform for people to share pictures and moments from places they love. Soon in alpha, VIZTA will collect site-sensitive stories so people can discover and learn from each other’s memorable experiences.

One Comment

  1. I have definitely noticed the short-term attention span. It seems like one of the risks of web living. Just thought I should let you know that the link to Kelly seems to be dead. Or maybe that is just my short-lived experience?
    You Dutcheables and your houseboats. It seems like the perfect fluctuation spot in time and space to discuss web-related matters.

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

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