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Human Development, Human Networks
Jamais Cascio, 22 Mar 05

Spring is conference season, it seems, and lots of interesting ones keep showing up on our radar. Here are two which may be of interest to WorldChanging readers who are (or will be) in the US this Spring.

The Arlington Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based futurist consultancy, is running Tools for the Development of Humanity on April 25-26. The list of speakers includes some old friends and familiar arguments alongside some fairly unconventional presenters, and a number of issues of interest to WorldChanging readers are on the agenda. I've known the founder of Arlington Institute, John Peterson, for some time now, and while it didn't work out this year to have WorldChanging in the mix, we're already talking about playing a role in next year's event. The extended entry has an excerpt from the event's website describing its pretty ambitious purpose.

A few days later is MeshForum, May 1-4 in Chicago. MeshForum will talk about networks in their various manifestations, from technology trends to social behavior -- definitely stuff we pay attention to here. The full program isn't quite set, but some of the speakers have been announced. In this case, WorldChanging will be among them: I'll be giving a talk about the Participatory Panopticon scenario, its implications and the choices it presents. An excerpt from MeshForum's description can also be found in the extended entry.

Registration remains open for each; both conferences have academic/student discounts.

Tools for the Development of Humanity is not modest in its goals:

Our human species is at an historic crossroads - facing a looming punctuation in the evolution of life on our planet. Whether it is the prospect of rapid climate change, terrorist warfare with nuclear and biological weapons, the now current ability to duplicate and fundamentally engineer life forms, or the absolute dependency that the world's economic system has on intrinsically vulnerable global information systems - it seems clear that these examples, among a growing number of extraordinary potential events, are conspiring to rapidly reconfigure the world in which we live in the coming years.If we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting what we are getting, so the solution is not to attack the problems - which derive from the fundamental nature of the underlying system within which we operate - but to foster fundamental change in us - discovering a fresh, new way to see ourselves and our world. New perspectives will produce different objectives and behavior, and, in time, a different system. We are talking about nothing less than consciously affecting the social advancement of our species in our lifetimes.

MeshForum is also thinking big:

Networks form the basis of everything, from how your body works to who you know, from how power is distributed to how the store on the corner is kept stocked. Networks are in the news, from the elections to anti-terrorism, to investigations of financial markets and the Blackout in the US. [...]MeshForum will bring together experts and leaders from many fields for two days of Connecting Networks. In a single, highly participatory track, panels of experts and select speakers will cover topics from summarizing current academic research to techniques for navigating and activating networks in specific industries.
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Comments

Minciu Sodas (www.ms.lt) is such a network, full of "ethical public domain" content (look at working groups and wikis).


Posted by: Lucas Gonzalez on 23 Mar 05

Minciu Sodas is a good network, full of "ethical public domain" content (look at the working groups and wikis).


Posted by: Lucas Gonzalez on 23 Mar 05



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