The audio archives from this year’s dConstruct conference are now online, and I was particularly interested to learn that this years headliner was James Burke (hat tip to Debbie Chachra) Burke is probably best known for two documentary series on the history of technology, Connections and The Day the Universe Changed. If you haven’t watched Burke, start with these rather than Connections 2 and 3. The latter aired on The Learning Channel and, while they share the format of the earlier programs (which aired on PBS), they lack, in my opinion, the sense of there being a larger point to the story, which is quite pronounced in the first two series.
Burke, using some examples you’ll remember if you’ve seen Connections or The Day the Universe Changed, discusses how innovation happens, how we might foster it, and where, just maybe, that might lead. He mentions what he’s doing to foster innovation, and while he doesn’t mention a URL during his speech, I’m pretty sure he’s referring to Knowledge Web. In the final portion of his address, Burke ponders how nanotech might change everything. This sounds farfetched, but , as he points out, so would a car or a cell phone to a 12th century peasant.