World Future 2005, Part 2
There were a lot of interesting things and a lot of very, very smart people. I'm just going to give some Conference highpoints that touch on either pop culture or libraries:
Science Fiction as the Mythology of the Future by Tom Lombardo, Ph. D., website: The Odyssey of the Future. Was mostly about adult science fiction literature, but did include Ursula Le Guin. Some recent studies on boys & reading conclude that boys are reading, its just that their reading preferences aren't taken seriously; this is an excellent reference if you need to show that science fiction is literature and not fluff.
Education: Prognosticating Change by Blake Godkin, Rodney Hill, and Jonathan Kotinek of Texas A&M University. Future education should not be about delivering content (ie "knowledge majors") but rather about knowledge producers. Class work shouldn't be about delivering information, but rather about the process of using that information. Two quotes: "students would be responsible for getting information on their own" and "content is easy to find." Sounded to me like libraries would still be critical to helping students find that content.
Entertainment of the Future: Celebrities as an Alternative Reality by Heriberto Lopez Romo of the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales S.C., Mexico City. Celebrities are our new gods. No, really: not in having god like powers, but rather that celebrities reflect our modern mythology, with celebrities reflecting our values, and each celebrity reflecting a different value. So it's not that we care about Jennifer Aniston; it's that right now, she is reflecting the Wronged Wife (or perhaps Cold Career Woman?) and that is why we care. It's the story we project, but the story isn't from jealousy or gossip or whatever: it's because we still have a need for myth. As for celebrities of the future: if sports continue to be Pay Per View, we will have less and less sports stars because their public will be unable to watch and we'll be seeing more "made to order" celebrities. It was a bit tongue in cheek, but at the end the presenters argued that Madonna's daughter Lola is a "celebrity by design."
Blogs & the Global Conversation by Andy Wibbels of Easy Bake Weblogs. In some ways, this was the scariest program of them all; because for how smart the Futurists were, the number who knew nothing about blogs and the impact of blogs was incredible. Maybe those who attended were not reflective of the membership in general; but I have been looking for conference bloggers and so far have only found Responsible Nanotechnology.