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Computer History Museum

Where better to bring together technology thought leaders together than the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

Last night Dice launched NextTech, an  industry event  designed to inform and entertain, all while supporting tech professionals, many whom are Dice job site users.

NextTech brought together tech industry visionaries, a select group of tech professionals, and leading tech companies to learn about the future of the tech industry, software, gaming, social media and more – beyond 2010. My guess is that  300+ showed up to this capacity event.

Next Tech Panelists

David SparkDavid Spark, Founder of Spark Media Solutions,  started the evening with a presentation on The End of the Resume, Rise of the Super User. Spark identified trends in how individuals present themselves on paper, versus social networking tools, like twitter and facebook. Then Spark took a look at what companies seek when finding new team members. No surprise that companies are interested in the same  super users already enamored with their products or services, blogging about them, twittering and even in some cases, contributing to their R&D.Examples include Mountain Dew and Boxee.

My take on this  is that the web is returning to common-sense, relationship-based tools for doing business. Remember all those kitschy sayings like “do what you love” that turned out to be somewhat true? They’re back from the hard, once cold edge of IT and waiting to be integrated into your  array of social marketing tools. (Thank you, Patrick for kicking my butt and getting me to tweet!)

Harry McCrakenNext up, Harry McCracken, Founder and editor of Technologizer, gave us the Next 8 , looking at what’s next in gadgets and mobile media. Each of these ideas is compelling enough to list here. Watch for notes on McCracken’s blog.

  1. LTE. New super-capable technology that will replace 3G networks. Already being tested by Verizon, AT&T expected to begin testing in 2010. You’ll need new smart phones, but wont mind because you’ll be getting so much more.
  2. E-Paper. Better than current LCD based systems and E-readers, E-paper will significantly reproduce the look and feel of paper and include colored e-paper values.
  3. 3-D. In home 3-D is on the way and this was a big story at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. Early market entries will not be created to industry standards, which have yet to be established. For instance, viewing glasses will most likely only work with manufacturers TV equipment.
  4. Fuel Cells. Still a few years out, but major progress is being made. Watch for Toshiba’s external laptop, powered by fuel cell.
  5. Augmented Reality. Enhance your real-world experience with live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment with some augmented aspects through computer generated imagery or information. Now available on smart phones with apps like Yelp, augmented reality layers computer information, keyed to your GPS location, letting you see what’s near and accessing detailed information on your real-world experience. Expect this to continue to expand, with features like projected virtual keyboard imagery to make input easier.
  6. The Cloud. Cloud computing, storing resources in a virtual, non-computer specific realm, will continue to become more pervasive, making device data storage limitations irrelevant. For instance, why bother to purchase a 32G smartphone, when all your info is accessible virtually anywhere, anytime?
  7. Wireless Power. The Palm Pre is leading the way for wireless recharging, but expect to see more in this area. inductive charging, requiring no ac/dc devices is still a decade out.
  8. Voice Recognition. Progress continues with Dragon and Google’s Nexus phone. Expect true dictation ability soon, but with a fairly high price tag.

By this time in the evening, I’m starting to feel a bit more relaxed…these are all ideas I can relate to and find a place for in my life.

Jamie FristromJamie Fristrom, co-founder of Torpex Games, and technical director and designer for the Spider-Man 2 video game, offers up some insights into the gaming industry. The quick recap here is that the industry continues to be unpredictable, with the exception of block-busting game sequels and fickle employers. The big news for 2010 will quite likely center around Microsoft’s Project Natal, which will allow the user to operate an XBox game system without a controller, delving deeper  and more seamlessly into a virtual world. Watch for an expanding market in casual games for smartphones and facebook. Further out, how about some VR glasses within a decade?

John SmartJohn Smart, futurist President of Acceleration Studies Foundation, founder of Foresight Education and Research Network, took a look ahead, discussing the digital self concept, exploring the boundaries of social media and the possibility of virtual self (think Asimov’s 1950 I,_Robot).

Key to Smart’s talk was the concept of evolution as a bottom-up, unpredictable process parallel to development, as a top-down hierarchical, predictable process. In Smart’s view, cognitive diversity is expanding in an Evo-Devo universe. See full notes here. See full notes here.

Frankly, this is pretty far out in the future, but it is no longer science fiction to see these virtual realities moving alongside our lives—can we keep this technology as a life enhancing? Perhaps,  with control and checks and balances around privacy.

At this point it was time for our host Thomas  M.  Silver, Dice Senior Vice President, North America, to let us in on some of the other news we were invited to share….Dice is moving to a new website, based on a social networking model. In other words, instead of posting a handful  information, with the hope and keywords to help you be found, Dice has engaged a core group of companies to establish profiles within Dice, so that job seekers can directly contact, following their interests and instincts. Watch for details on the Beta for this soon.

Questions and answers followed, along with some savvy observations from the audience. A couple questions objected to technology, seeing it as an invasive obstacle. What can I say? I was half expecting to be blasted out of the room by tech-ize, instead I found myself renewed and reaffirmed.

My take way from Next Tech is that technology is advancing by integrating relationship-building practices, that include much more dimension than in the past. In as much as this means allowing for our humanity, quirks and passions, this is a good thing.

Kudos to Dice for  setting the perfect stage for a new approach in how we seek and find engaging work.

Harry McCracken

Harry McCracken