I've just returned from two and a half days very well spent attending and speaking at ICE08 in Toronto. The occasion that brought me to the event was, as it often is, an opportunity to talk about the future and help others find ways to frame the possibilities, threats and opportunities that may lie in their paths. In this instance, I was privileged to join a roundtable with Suzanne Stein of SMARTlab and Salim Ismail, recently with Yahoo! Brickhouse and through the course of an hour at the end of the event we took the participants from the question "Why foresight?" through the evolution of the Web and information, to an (open) end point imagining four possible scenarios for interactive media in 10 years' time.
The overall goal was to help attendees take the mass of information, ideas and concepts they'd been exposed to during the event and find both a reason and way to look at the future, imagining four possible but provocative worlds that examined bottom-up vs. top-down control of media in worlds where either the medium (technology) or the message (content) was most important. Asked to vote, the audience believed by a slight margin that a user-driven world where content is king was the scenario for 2018 that sounded most probable, which is interesting considering much of the audience is currently engaged in creating content for users rather than carrying content by users. The urge to embrace democratic creativity seems strong, or the current power of Web 2.0 holds everyone enthralled. At any rate, to sustain and grow the power of user-generated content in the overall interactive economy will require forethought and clear vision, which is what we were hoping to spark through this roundtable.
Here's looking forward to checking in on everyone's progress at ICE09! Anyone interested in the presentation from the event can contact me and I'll send them along.