Friday, November 16, 2012

'Book Don't Work!'

Yesterday we were invited by our good friend, author and futurologist Ray Hammond to hear him speak at the Adobe Digital Publishing and Marketing event in London. As usual Ray engaged with his audience and spoke about the immediate future and the potential some 20 years out. As usual he left us all with some gems. 

He told us of a recent experience in reading a bedtime story to his two year old goddaughter. He started to read and was stopped when she poked the picture of the elephant and said, ‘Book don’t work.’ The fact that she expected a touch experience was significant, but more relevant was that she saw the book as a flat screen.

Ray believes that the lack of vocabulary we have for new technology is often restricting our vision on its potential. This challenge is not new and he reminds us of the projector being first called a ‘magic lantern, the car the horseless carriage, the train the iron horse. All describing what they weren't more than what they were. Vocabulary evolves and the cell phone, mobile, smartphone evolves to being more about what it can do as oppose to what it was related to in a previous life. Ray describes today as the cloud.

Ray expects the mobile device to diverge in the next few years with there being a hub device to send receive and route and peripheral devices with which to hear, see, display and interact with the world. His vision is very similar to that of Pranav Mistry’s ‘sixth sense’ device and given he is often presenting to the likes of the Intel, Nokia, IBM, Apple top management  around the world, you can bet the vision is now close to reality. The interactive glasses are coming and prototypes are here today, the voice command first generation applications are here today and in the mobile and Mistry demonstrated the display and interactive technology in action some 3 years ago. The questions are not so much about what we shall have in our pockets tomorrow but how we will use them and how that will change what we do today?

As individuals and businesses we are all now becoming publishers. All capable of networking, communicating to anyone anywhere and anytime and this is changing social relationships, business relationships and how we do things. The democratisation of publishing is challenging the very processes we have grown to accept, the definition of content and importantly the associated rights of usage and ownership.  
If you ever are lucky enough to have the opportunity to hear Ray speak we recommend you take it.

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