Richard Giles’ 5 Technologies with the Greatest Impact from O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference

This is the next interview in the continuing series of Computing Canada’s (CC) Blogged Down (BD) which is featured here “first” in the Canadian IT Managers (CIM) forum.

In part 3 of this blog series, we continue our talk with Richard Giles, an industry leading authority and pioneer in blogging, podcasting and new media (Web 2.0). Richard is also the founder of Clique Communications.

Today I put these questions to Richard:

Stephen: Which sessions were the most illuminating and why? Explain the value.

Richard: A theme that developed for me personally throughout the whole event was that technologists are now the wrong people to be dealing with the high-level operation of the Internet. Hard core techies should seek out intelligent people in anthropology, sociology, artists, etc. to help them build meaningful systems. Leaving it to technologists is just going to make for a complex environment, where I think we're now at a point in its evolution that we can start making the interaction simpler.

Stephen: Which five technologies will have the greatest future impact and why?


Attention: Enabling systems to monitor what people do, so that it can predict successfully what you might like later. Google is already trying this with search history. You can turn on a feature in the service to monitor the web searches you undertake and which results you select. It can then later refine your search results with web sites it thinks you are more likely to be interested in.

Location awareness: A system that knows where you are will be a valuable item. Tack on attention information, (so that a personal device knows where you are and what you do), and you've got a valuable service that can make recommendations based on place.

Massive group correlation: The Internet now enables low cost, high speed, communication. By linking millions of individuals around the world we can get a better view of people. It sounds like big brother, but if you turn this on its head and enable individuals to access and control this information, then we'll see the power shift from a few, (such as major corporations or governments), to individuals. Tags and folksonomies are a great illustration of this.

Virtual worlds: I attended the Linden Labs party, the crew that has created the online world called Second Life. They've taken some interesting steps by providing ownership to the world residents. So if you create something in-world, you own the rights. This enables you to sell this object for Linden Dollars, which has its own exchange rate. Some residents are making real world salaries by working in world selling objects or virtual land. If you use SL, my virtual name is Rich Neurocam. Make sure you message me.

Media distribution: With the ease people can create and distribute content, we'll see a major shake out in media. Television, radio, news, and entertainment like movies are seeing the biggest changes in their industries since their inception.

Stephen: Which event was the most surprising?

Richard: I think networking in halls was at times the most eye opening. It was fun to see geek celebrities, but it was also fabulous to chat with some very inspirational people and to hear some of their ideas. It's always the people behind the technology that make it interesting.

In the next blog, Richard will discuss his new book on Flickr, and his Pros/Cons on Corporate Blogging.

I also encourage you to share your thoughts here on these interviews or send me an e-mail at

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Thank you,
Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P.

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