Sunday, March 12, 2000

Predictions and parties

Donna Kidwell of sat down with writer Bruce Sterling, Don Webb of Texas Best Mysteries and writer Margaret Wertheim in the "Popcorn 2000: Picking apart the Predictions" panel Monday morning, March 13. In his typically engaging and humorous POV of the future, Bruce spoke "up strongly on behalf of the pencil….it's painful how fascinating it is." Bruce is also thinking seriously about paper clips…" He commented how the lines between home and work are blurred again, as they were before the industrial revolution. Back in those days, shopkeepers lived above their stores. Today, people are setting up shop in home. He confessed how appallingly industrial his own home is--and it isn't that different from anyone else's.

Wertheimer commented how as we increasingly automate everything, there'll be less workers and everyone will be in media. We'll all be reading each other's criticisms and generating a circle of content creation. Bruce commented how he's amazed at how much email he gets from his family. He gets at least three emails a day from his wife--and she's just upstairs! Wertheimer feels that soon the coolest jobs will be non-media jobs: people who work with their hands or body. She reflected how we're at a new media conference and the coolest thing the night before was a non-new media performance by a man who amazed us with tricks he could do with his body. Today, we've got former cash-register clerks doing web design and a nation of people who can't figure out change due back without the help of a calculator. Is the Internet (and automation) making us stupider? The day before we saw a demo from Macromedia that wasn't about pairing Shakespearean quotes with Kadinsky paintings to create a postcard--it was about off-color quips with crude drawings.

Sterling, in his Eco-concerns for the world ahead of us complained jokingly how there are no Scrubbing Bubbles for the Internet like there are for our bathtubs. There's a dump in town that has about 2 stories of old computer equipment, but where is the dump for old unused Web sites?