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Monday, December 9 • 9:10am - 10:10am
Pieter Hintjens--Keynote:Building Stuff Changes Everything

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Our business is making stuff, changing the world in a trillion tiny
steps. Yet how often do we stop and think about the impact? Entire
empires were built on the assumption of costly technology. From
sending telegraphs, distributing music, to running newspapers and TV
stations, expensive communications has made many people very wealthy.
And we've made this dirt cheap over the years, so cheap that I can
start a TV station from my mobile phone. There are already over two
billion people with smartphones, and five billion more with older
phones, waiting their turn.

Human society is becoming one, connected in real time, over the whole
planet. It is a shocking historical moment, one our parents could not
dream of, and our children will take for granted. Ten billion minds
will come online, and join together in a chaotic, noisy, yet connected
global society. If there is ever a way to solve the old problems of
poverty, hunger, disease, and war, this is it. If you believe, as I
do, in our power to work together to solve difficult challenges, the
digital revolution must fill you with joy and wonder.

And yet, as this wondrous experiment in cheap communications explodes,
it is making some powerful people extremely nervous, angry, and
hostile. New business deflates old money. New media says what the
established media cannot. New wisdoms threaten old narratives. New
power threatens old political agreements. Global digital society has
moved past "amusing experiment" into "clear and present danger", and
the response that is coming will be harsh.

This is partly our mess, as technologists, since we decided it would
be fun to hook computers together over phone lines to discuss cats and
send ASCII art. We started this, by convincing businesses to invest in
the Internet and the Web. We kept buying shiny new gadgets and writing
amazing new software, not realizing that we were starting a digital
revolution that would involve billions of people. We didn't realize
that the Internet we built would turn into an all seeing, all hearing
policeman. My dad refused for fifteen years to use the Internet,
saying "I don't trust that stuff," and recently I had to tell him, you
were right.

As technologists, we can at least try to fix this bit of a mess. I'll
explain a few ideas, I'm sure you have your own. Let's make stuff and
also think about making a better world, on the way.

avatar for Pieter Hintjens

Pieter Hintjens

Pieter Hintjens is a writer, hacker, and public speaker who has spent decades building large software systems and on-line communities. He is an expert in distributed computing, having written many protocols and distributed software systems. He founded the ZeroMQ free software project in 2007, and in 2013 launched the Edge Net project to build a fully secure, anonymous peer-to-peer Internet. He is the author of "ZeroMQ - Messaging for Many... Read More →

Monday December 9, 2013 9:10am - 10:10am
Hall 5.1

Attendees (82)