Last weekend I treated myself to an outing, a day of mental stimulation. I took myself off to London for the geekyoto event organised by Mark Simpkins and Ben Hammersley. As the early birds took their seats in the morning, we were a little unsure what to expect. So were Mark and Ben, I think.
What followed was a day of mind-expanding ideas, few of them very predictable given the day’s theme (“Discuss the future and how we’ll live in it”). It wasn’t all about environmentalism, it wasn’t all about technology either. Some bits of it weren’t about either of them. But throughout, the basic ideas of living future lives sustainably, using our geek technology to understand and bring about sustainability, weren’t very far away.
The day was long, and did suffer from slide overload after a few hours (next time, I’d like more speakers to just speak; most of the slides on show at geekyoto didn’t really need to be shown at all). But I did learn a lot, such as:
- The story of the Government minister who didn’t want to post a question on his blog because he feared being seen to show weakness – this was the thing I found myself thinking about most after the event. How, I wondered, can we bring about some understanding of online culture by politicians? So that future generations of them can ask questions in public and not be frightened of the opposition – or the Daily Mail – coming down on them like a tonne of bricks as a result
- Carbon emissions trading is broken; a new campaign, Sandbag, hopes to fix it by removing emissions trading permits from circulation, thus reducing the total number, and making the trading market stronger. I’d like to write an article about this for someone, if I can get a commission
- Lots of people present had a very positive view of the future. It isn’t necessarily inherited, Richard Sandford of Futurelab told us. Imagine better futures, and they’re more likely to come about. Ben Saunders’ inspiring closing talk was clear: the only limits on human potential are the ones we impose upon ourselves
- Lots of the proposed changes will work best over decades; we are anticipating things that will require generational change. A move away from disposable products of all kinds; energy usage as performance metric; making play a more important part of everyone’s life
Geekyoto was something genuinely different; a hand-made conference about things that mattered both to speakers and audience. It was stimulating, thought-provoking, and ended with natter in the pub. There are going to be more geekyoto events; I hope to attend them, and I encourage you to go along too.