Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mobile Technology - The Dark Side

Part of the TED culture is that you can turn to anyone beside you and strike up a conversation. Whether you're riding down in the elevator with Al Gore, or walking across the street with Peter Gabriel, or bumping into Peter Diamandes (to mention just a few from this year), you can expect to get a polite and interested response from them. It took me a couple of years of TED to understand this openness and lack of hubris and get up the nerve to start these conversations.

However, this year, there have been several occasions where I couldn't make this contact. Why? The curse of the mobile Internet: people immersed in email on their smart phones. Somehow, people were never this obsessed when it was just voice conversations or perhaps it seemed ruder to talk than to covertly check their email and apps.

The situation may be even worse tomorrow. Today there was a brief talk demonstrating the fabulous applications on the new Nexus phone from Google. At the end Chris Anderson asked how many people didn't have a Nexus phone. When approximately everyone put their hands up, he retorted "You're wrong. Google is giving every one of you a phone". So there'll be an onslaught tomorrow of people who are just dying to play with their new phones. I certainly want to play as much as possible while I'm here, because we get a free month of service in US with the phone, and I'd like to learn and play with it while free.

And so to bed, gearing up for a big day again tomorrow, starting with a 7:30 breakfast, then TED University, three conference sessions running until 6:45 followed by the TED Grand Party. I even have several of those planned 'conversations' (new to TED this year) I want to get to in the breaks, and I'm trying to catch the organizer of TEDx to talk about a potential TEDx conference in Toronto.

And soon I'll get to actually telling you about the marvellous talks!!

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