Bill Thompson’s Vision of a Digital Future for the Arts
1 October 2009
For those who were unable to attend the AmbITion North East road show, below is an excerpt from Bill Thompson’s fascinating key note address on a digital future for the arts.
Read more at the AmbITion Roadshow live blog:
Next up Bill Thompson from the BBC:
In his own words, “a digital refugee who would not like to be sent back to ‘analogue jail’”.
Used to work for an IT firm that basically consulted with businesses on using ‘green screen’ technology, old style computers!
Combined computing power in the room can dwarft that of a country. He wasn’t joking… visited Hungary a while back and was shown the country’s 64k internet connection.
Being connected like air for most.
It is not stopping, the speed at which innovation happens, surprises even him.
Talked about Microsoft’s touchscreen mapping device which shows where the fingers are on the back. Wish I knew what it was….
Plastic Logic’s flexible electronic reader. Flexible electronic paper.
iPhone, iPod Touch a result of 5 year research. Similarly, electronic paper technology may not be in the shops at Christmas but they are coming. We have proven it is possible.
Research that shows that it is possible to store one bit per atom. Store entire visual field of a person, storing every second of a person’s life on 60kg!
Contact lens that gives you an overlay on your visual field, image of a ‘contact lens’ with a circuit board etched into it…
Forget 3D cinema, this is augmented reality.
Other work, direct neural interfaces. Nerve cells like silicon! You can develop systems where nerves merge with silicon and you can control things directly.
Feels it is a one way process. Doesn’t think we will be able to upload thoughts onto memory, however we may well be able to control cars, laptops by thinking.
Rich, nerdy, ’stupid’ friends, will be able to try it out first! BBC website shows this happening already – Bionic eye gives blind man sight.
Examples: Cambidge Film Festival (of which he is trustee), Secret Heart film, Pilot Theatre on Second Life.
Other organisations pushing the boundaries: Tyneside Cinema, Cornerhouse, Manchester.
It’s about finding out what you can do within your remit as an organisation using digital.
Lovely pic of Tom Watson, cabinet officer for information, on a Segway! His Power of Information TaskForce now liberates online mapping applications for Ordinance Map information.
Digital Britian report a start, though he (Thompson) would argue for universal access at 2Mb for all (a fiftieth of the average speeds in South Korea).
Still discussing Digital Britain Report – ITV’s job cuts announcement yesterday showing that cultural practice that is dependent on broadcasters is on shaky ground.
“‘Maybe we should aim for being paid for content on YouTube”.
Bill shares his Facebook profile. “I’ve known about Christian (@documentally) for a while but I’m meeting him for the first time today”.
Know him from his online interactions, know about his gran.
Now onto Newcastle’s Bigg Market. It’s a place responsible for the moral decline of the country at this difficult time, because of text messages.
He is joking…
Making the point that when he used to go out in his youth, the only way his friends could communicate the next pub they would be going to would be by telling the landlord.
Text messages make Just In Time Drinking possible. Show that the effects of technology can be very unpredictable. We have to wait to see what happens.
When it comes to the cultural sector in particular, it is difficult to see the difference between the impact of the technology and the impact it has on our lives. Sometimes, that change happens whether or not we take the laptop or computer.
Press freedom is harder to repress even as the technology makes surveillance easier.
The environment within artistic development happens is so different from what it was 50 years ago is working in a different world and therefore must operate in a different way.
AmbITion was an intervention in an ongoing conversation between the arts world and technology. Was a way to counter institutional resistance to change of this form. Similar to how businesses resist changes brought on by technology.
It is always a risk to change something.
There’s more on the event’s live blog: http://getambition.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/ambition-north-east-roadshow-%E2%80%93-tyneside-cinema/