The Future of Text is almost now

Howard Rheingold and Pascal Zachary at the Future of Text Symposium, 2015.

Futurists are fond of predicting that, one day, humans will communicate telepathically, thus drastically reducing the need for the written and spoken word. Until that day arrives, however, mere mortals must continue to communicate primarily with text,  a vehicle fraught with pitfalls but loaded with  potential.

It is the latter that will be the focus of a fast-paced, one-day symposium in the Bay Area August 25. The Future of Text Symposium is most certainly becoming one of the most esoteric intellectual endeavors of our time.

And while it has been steadily evolving since first presented in 2011 at the British Library in London, the concept remains the same: Brilliant minds gather to share their most cogent thoughts on where text has been, where it is and where it’s going–and they do it within a interactive structure that keeps the idea stream rushing along in a  torrent.

We must say with considerable pride that Wiki Strategies is both a sponsor of this year’s FOT, and, through founder Pete Forsyth, a participant. Pete, like the others on the panel, will have his 15  minutes of, if not fame, foment–10 minutes to present his most critical thoughts on text, and what lessons about its future may be drawn from 15 years of Wikipedia, followed by 5 minutes of discussion.

He’ll be sharing the stage with, among others, the following luminaries:

  • Peter Norvig, director of research for Google.
  • Ted Nelson, thinker, poet, philosopher, coiner of the word “hypertext.”
  • Bruce Horn, Chief Scientist for Smart Devices, Intel and creator of Macintosh Finder.
  • Marc Canter, tech evangelist known as the “godfather of multimedia”
  • Livia Polanyi, consulting professor of linguistics, Stanford University. Formerly principal researcher for Microsoft, focusing on natural language processing.
  • Heather Gold, stand-up comedian and champion of interactive, online shows.

The symposium is presided over by Frode Hegland, self-described as the developer of “the powerful OS X utility Liquid | Flow and Liquid | Author, a new perspective in word processing. He is collaborating on The Time Browser project and is part of the Knowledge Federation.

His co-host is Houria Iderkou, founder and owner of skin care company Néfertari. She and Frode have worked together on various projects for more than  a decade, and have nurtured FOT along  since its inception.

We’d love to have everyone come to  Mountain View on the 25th to join in the repartee, but, unfortunately, the event is already  maxed out capacity wise. You see, the in crowd in the text world avidly awaits the announcement of upcoming symposia and seats disappear quickly. But we intend to do a bit of filming while we’re there, and we’ll be writing about the event in this space. So stay tuned and we’ll bring you the highlights–in text and video, and, hopefully, so robustly communicated that you will feel as though you were there in person.

These organizations are cosponsors of the Symposium:

About Dan Cook

Dan Cook has been a journalist for many years. His Wikipedia experience dates back to 2008. He has been working regularly with Wiki Strategies since February 2014. He also works for a range of clients doing communications consulting.
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