On April 11, 2012 in Palo Alto at SAP, the Future Salon hosted Howard Rheingold’s talked about his new book “Net Smart: How to Thrive Online.” While social networks are transforming the business and politics, Rheingold shows how to interact on a personal level. We must develop our skills at attention, participation, collaboration, critical thinking and networking. Networks have structures that influence the way individuals and groups behave. You should have a balance of weak and strong ties. Rather than making a large number of connections, you want centrality where people go through you to connect with each other.
On March 1, 2012 in Palo Alto at SAP, the Future Salon held an Open Mike night. The topics ranged from children’s suffrage, maker education, expanding human potential, fasting, life extension, synthetic cognition, thrivability and world peace. This is a fascinating combination of people with very different perspectives pitching ideas that might someday be accepted wisdom. Oh, and they are smarter and funnier than anyone at an open mike night at your local comedy club. The future is funny again.
On Wednesday May 26, 2010 in Palo Alto at SAP, the Future Salon hosted Dino Karabegâ€™s presentation â€œTrimtabs for Systemic Change.â€ Karabeg is a professor of informatics at University of Oslo. He said â€œTrimtabs for systemic change are acts that are small enough to be feasible, which can add up to make our civilization change course and guide us along a new and different direction of progress.â€
Here is what I walked away with. Baby steps. Little things add up over time. A journey begins with a single step. If you want change, be the agent of change.
On July 17, 2009 at the SAP campus in Palo Alto, The Future Salon hosted Professor Michael M. Merzenich, Ph.D. co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Posit Science. He presented “Why Humans May Be Too Neurologically Limited To Successfully Rule The World”.
To paraphrase from the film “The Graduate”, the future is one word “plasticity”. Merzenich went through the whole development of the brain from birth to old age. He thinks it is important to stay connected to other people and interact with the natural world because that is how we evolved. The brain is incredibly flexible thing that must be used or it will atrophy.
Brain plasticity means you can teach a puppy or old dog new tricks. Actually most of the research was done on rats. Merzenich showed how older drivers could regain their peripheral vision using training software. It makes them more independent and productive.
He also talked about how to make people less productive. Did you know that most of the communication a child gets in a poor family is negative or corrective and in a wealthy family it is positive or supportive? This has enormous impact on whether a child winds up in prison. Detaching and trying to isolate people at risk eventually puts everyone at risk.
Some things are hardwired and difficult to override. He spoke of Sweden’s literacy program where they discovered that dyslexia persisted despite their best efforts in about five percent of the population. They had to make allowances for this disability in their schools. In another example, people with PTSD vividly relive their trauma. Neurologically, it never dissipates. Restitution and treatment for survivors works best, but it is still a major injury that never goes away.
Ultimately, the more positive neural stimulation you get, the more complex tasks you can learn. Get out of your routine. Keep moving. Don’t stay at a job for ten years, it’ll rot your brain.
On June 23, 2008 the Future Salon hosted Jeremy Toeman talk about Buglab’s new mobile base station called the bug. The modules connect like Lego blocks with screens, phones, GPS, cameras, and run on open source software. Text from DJCline.com. Continue reading June 23, 2008 Future Salon Buglab→