This page contains one of a set of 24 transcripts including remarks made by interview participants at the Metaverse Roadmap Summit at Stanford Research Institute in May 2006. Each person was asked a series of five questions regarding the future; only the most “telling” responses were transferred from the recordings into these transcripts, thus, some of these interviews will include five question-answer sets, some will have four or fewer.
To jump to another interviewee’s set of answers, click on the person’s name below.
Iveta Brigis is the former executive director of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, the non-profit organization that organized the Metaverse Roadmap Summit. She is working on a master’s degree in business administration at the University of California-Irvine.
What is your most fervent hope for the future of networked technologies? My most fervent wish for the future of networked technology is that it just serves the people to better meet our needs. Technology is useless unless it helps people … it is really just a tool for humans to achieve their needs. There are different levels of needs and technology changes. People at the bottom of the hierarchy just need shelter and security and food, and technology has helped a lot of people reach that level but not everyone yet. As we go along, technology is going to meet our needs to be social and get along with other people and finally to self-actualize and really do jobs that make us happy and really do things we’re really happy about that we can contribute with.
What technology will have the greatest impact on our everyday lives the next 10 years? The most interesting, the biggest technological change will happen when the billions of people who don’t have access to almost any electronic technology are going to get wireless, satellite, internet laptop computers for only $100. There are some fascinating companies and non-profits that are developing the $100 laptop project. When those people come online and have access to education, the whole world is going to change.
Looking out more than 10 years, what development will have the greatest impact on society? One of the most important technological developments over the horizon is going to be our ability to constantly look at the companies we’re buying from and investing in and see what kind of socially responsible decisions they’re making. John Smart actually calls this the “valuecosm.” It’s the idea that you’re going to be able to tell your avatar or program your computer to say I’m only going to buy milk or soy milk from companies that have this labor policy or that they invest only in this kind of socially responsible business. Right now people invest in companies or support companies that don’t contribute beneficially to the world because they’re too lazy or its too hard – they don’t even publish that kind of information. Once that information becomes ubiquitous and we have access to it, we’ll be able to change the world with our money, with our buying power and with our investing decisions. I’m really excited about that.
What do you think policymakers should do to ensure a positive future for networked technologies? The best thing they could do to ensure a good future overall for the network and for other people is to invest in education. You have to have educated users to make good virtual worlds or a good real world, and if you’re not investing the money to make kids aware of how the world works and teach basic skills, then you’re really not going to get anywhere.