Written by Paul Armstrong, HERE/FORTH
Can two days change your life? I have just completed WIRED 2013, a two-day conference put on by Conde Nast for the third time—the most intense of all three with over 45 speakers… and only six breaks. If you have yet to attend, imagine reading all the issues of Wired 2013 in 48 hours, experiencing a great many of the technologies and gadgets described (as well as many new ones), in addition to hearing multiple nuggets of information that wasn’t reported on—that’s the conference. Then, imagine being surrounded by about 500 incredibly smart and connected people (think CEO’s, heads of innovation, hackers, NGOs, product designers, Shell, Google) at the same time. To say this conference has the potential to change the world is no hyperbole.
I noticed a couple of things at the conference this year; the event acts as a mind reset—personal, professional and the world at large—all are given perspectives and contexts that help me reevaluate the different aspects of my being, and the other was identifying several inspirations and ideas for the news industry from some highly unlikely sources.
The Youth Will Eat Us All:
Nick D’Aloisio, founder of Summ.ly and now with Yahoo!, is 17 and has a clear vision for the future of information (in summary, everything will be summarized). D’Aloisio, who recently sold Summ.ly to Yahoo! for $30 million, spoke of his frustration with the current systems forced upon young people and his desire to marry both algorithms and the entrepreneurial spirit associated with news.
In a completely different field, Jack Andraka wowed the crowd to a standing ovation with his incredible tale of creating a pancreatic cancer test that is over 26,000 times less expensive than the current test and just as, if not more, accurate. He was 15 when he did it and is 17 now. Both individuals are impressive, but I got the feeling that the news could learn from exploring more “bedroom-dweller types” who, due to being programmed differently, will find answers others cannot. News organizations should be identifying them, allowing them space and encouraging them to break things.
Available Technology Is Not Being Used: