bruce sterling talk

still processing the experience of the last panel. this is in the same room as next-gen web apps, now I owe George Kelly a beer for his forethought in bringing a powerstrip.

the party doesn’t scale. :(? no, you are too big, too professional.

he’s in a dark, introspective, literary mood this year.? just had a party in belgrade, with 20 serbian webgeeks.? in 2006 you cats don’t need my party.? this is the hottest time.? good to see this crowd.

“welcome to the bubble echo”

when there is a web 2.0 bust, we’re all welcome.

commons-based peer production is coming up.

if gnu’s not unix, what is it?? flickr isn’t a hippie knockoff of anything else.? collaborative web filters are spooky, unlike anything else.

hard to explain this stuff to people who are not geeks, but it’s important.

tech economy is not on the coattails of gates.

windows live?!

something about global criminality.

look at page for city of austin in guidebook, nice little NGOs.? very richard florida.? warm feeling as an austinite.? scary sign of incompetence on the federal level. only in america do old telcos lobby as if they were indian casinos.

broadband in serbia; $20/month; it works, and is run by actual criminals in exile.

decadent, sclerotic, looks like soviet union. banana republic with rockets; politically and technically incompetent.

when you ignore reality for years on end, the payback is a bitch.

visionary in residence, his new book came out last week.? audacious & freaky stuff.

oil industry kid.? married to a serbian feminist peacenik dissident, met because of the internet.? always wanted to know what went wrong in yugoslavia…now he knows.

serbia has one of the most dysfunctional societies on the planet.? “some of my shoes are there.”? “I live out of my laptop now.”? will be meeting cory d. on 3 different continents in 5 mos.

listening to him is like listening to luscious techno-poetry.

“nobody notices that I have left austin.”

he does rather live in a different universe.

“like the last reels of gone in the wind here”

losing our cultural cache.? oil, real estate speculation, and blood.? we’ve always been loud & boisterous, but now we’re “hugely & scarily fat.”

slovenia == iowa.? serbian truthiness.

frantic collisions of fundamentalism with reality.

like the witching hour, death cult.

“accidentally killed 8000 people” — “8 on camera and that seems to make all the difference” — those two guys (serbian war criminals) are in monesteries.? vaclav havel with a submachine gun.

“the troubles”, “the disorder” — when it’s over you don’t get to say I proudly served, because it’s a war on morale/pride.? always covert, fake, trumped-up, compartmentalized.? this is the stuff of the disorder.

secrecy always & everywhere, and no end.? (damn I need a drink.)

on the slider bar between teh unthinkable and the unimaginable, between the meathook future and the green shiny one.? there’s a way out, but we haven’t invented the words yet.

warren ellis: there’s a middle distance between {collapse} and {nerdvana}; the human dimension, how it’s taken on board by smart people.

the street (still) finds its own uses.

yipes! back speakers came on as they opened up the barrier between rooms.? I coughed, Denise jumped.

if you took mao & ghandi and put them on the streets, they’d have no idea what to do with it.? everything that desperately poor people could do to survive has been done to the environment, but they’re booming…because of the people.


hey, now I can see him, since the crowd has thinned out into the new space.

“you are a philistine and you have no taste”

“only realized two weeks ago that it’s a tag” laughter “it’s a theory object”

gibsonian cyberspace is a consensual hallucination…we don’t have any of that, and may never do, but the term already has a period flavor to it.

elevator pitch: speculative imaginary object:

  1. interactive chip so it has a unique identity
  2. local precise positioning, sort where things are and where you are in re: them
  3. search engine, auto-googling object
  4. cradle-to-cradle recycling, transparent production
  5. 3d virtual models of objects, product of cad-cam, schematics are on the net, befure they become objects
  6. rapidly prototypes (like the app design discussion this morning); dreams clang right on the ground.

book by worldchanging cadre.? index of ways out of the smokefilled room.

then people would interact with objects in a truly different unimaginable way.? transparent & participatory.? see the garbage.? material instances of immaterial [missed that]

why would we want to do such a weird thing? an internet of things.? because of the way it will feel, no longer inventory my posessions inside my head, done by voodoo.? no longer both to remember where I put things, found them, cost of them, etc., etc.? search engine of things.

google your shoes in the morning.

am I the only one for whom it sounds entirely weird and a little terrifying?

just a design professor for a year.? knock on it to see what falls out.

(his voice reminds me a little of Ralph’s. and I’m going to need to put my wrists on ice for a couple of days once I get home.)

30% of you are googling spime right now.? (not me, but the woman next to me had the wikipedia page for it open.)

he talks like he writes, big and weird and gorgeous.

the 20th century couldn’t deal with this shit.? real theory object has website, tags, user-centric web apps, etc., etc., etc.? as if the surrealist cafe had been frozen into linkage.

legacy people.

trying to write a novel, because it’s his job description.? and what is that now?? matches into the bog of language and most of them deserve to die.

frankenstein is lost, the creator.? 19 year old feminist who’d run off with an atheist poet.? be the change you want to see.

make no decision out of fear.

motto of the serbians.? people tire of fraud, evil, sheer stupid pettiness, being promised jam & fed ashes.

the great american novel is over.? need regional novel about the planet earth.? human resiliance & history.

the people loved the serpent miloscevic.? “if he did some bad things, he was doing them for us and our usness.”? posters of him look like an injured muppet.? “they’re real holy now […] giant turnips of nationalist resentment”

evil has a face: the person who resents you because you don’t buy into his nationalist crap.

cure: historial perspective.? time passes, you come to your senses.? patchwork of faith-based bullshit. hammering the electoral districts of texas into shape.? the old anvil laughs at many broken hammers.

serbian has a small language, so they have a lot of poets, like right-wing public bloggers.? when you can comprehend poetry it means your heart is not broken.? anna ahkmatova…”could you possibly bear witness — yes — and it was true”? and they listen and they weep aloud.? they don’t deserve to be europe, but they’re not dead.? even the pirates are in retreat.

they know how to go with it.

1937.? “couldn’t get venture capital back then”

carl sandburg

the people yes

the people will live on

the learning and blundering people

wil live on

and sold in a dense soul

[i can’t keep up, and he’s near-teary.]

a vast huddle of many units

if i had more time

i could read & study and talk things over and find out about things

book recommendations from others in the audience:

  • Islands in the net
  • Distraction