Virtual Reality pioneer Jaron Lanier will debate Sims creator Will Wright at Accelerating Change 2004 (November 5-7 at Stanford). Their debate is entitled "Finding Humanity in the Interface: Capacity Atrophy or Augmentation?" and Future Salon's own Mark Finnern will do the moderating. (Mark is, of course, Superman in the picture to the left :)
In the latest edition of Tech Tidbits, ISAC President John Smart provides the following context for the debate:
"As our interfaces get continually smarter, how do we keep them from dehumanizing us? Can we avoid the world of MT Anderson's masterful dystopia, Feed (2002), where the internet-jacked, childlike teens of 2030 speak pidgin English and live primarily as vehicles for highly sophisticated and automated corporate marketing and political programming?
"Should we be concerned that U.S. youth have had forty years of declining math, science, and analytical reading skills? Do we need 1960's math skills in a world with ubiquitous calculators, or reading skills in a world with digital cable? Or thinking skills in a world with intelligent text analytics?
"Encouragingly, the Millennial generation reaches maturity earlier, communicates in new nonlinear ways, and has a strong facility to adapt to new technology. But are we in danger of losing our perspective, independence, and global vision? What are our most important priorities as we enter a world of increasingly sophisticated interfaces and simulations?"
It will be very interesting to see where these two interface and simulation legends differ in their views and assumptions about our collective human future. See the latest Tech Tidbits for more information, including Will and Jaron's bios.
Will Wright will also deliver a keynote presentation at AC2004 called "Sculpting Possibility Space", the abstract of which can be found here.