February 16, 2009

Thomas Frey at TSCPL #staffday

Library of the Future:Nerve Cen­ter of the Com­mu­nity — Thomas Frey, Senior Futur­ist at The DaVinci Insti­tute, pre­sented at the Topeka Shawnee County Pub­lic Library

we spend most of our time think­ing about the past
– we know about it and have expe­ri­enced it
but we’re going to spend the rest of our lives in the future
it’s like we’re walk­ing back­wards into the future

epipha­nies are one of the things that sep­a­rate humans from ani­mals
every great new busi­ness is an epiphany

Frey had “a full cat­e­gory 5 epiphany“
“the life of an idea junkie“
Frey described a time he and his wife were sit­ting in a side­walk café when he heard a song and used “Shazam” on his phone to find out the name of a song, which he then imme­di­ately down­loaded
real­ized that his phone has a cam­era, too
the future of retail — when you see some­one wear­ing a jacket you like, just take a pic­ture of it to pur­chase it (just point and click at it)
in the future, all of our body info will be scanned in so that clothes fit the first time
no longer restricted to just what’s in stores
instead of own­ing a store, own­ers could hire mod­els to walk up and down the street (not just cloth­ing, but small appli­ances, too)
any prod­uct, any­where, anytime

showed a slideshow of mod­ern libraries

what form of pay­ment will you put in a vend­ing machine in 2059?
Frey thinks the vend­ing machine of the future will be mobile and will come to you
will know what you want
might even fly

what music that we lis­ten to today, will peo­ple still be lis­ten­ing to 100 years from now in 2109?
more impor­tantly, how will we be lis­ten­ing to music 100 years from now?
will it just appear in our heads? will it still come from speak­ers?
the ulti­mate music player will have the abil­ity to assess our reac­tion to the music and will only serve up music tha we react pos­i­tively to

ulti­mate drink dis­penser will have the abil­ity to assess what kind of liq­uids our body needs and will only serve up a liq­uid that we react pos­i­tively to
knows exactly how much sugar or cream should go in your coffee

the idea of “per­fect water“
we all know pol­luted water is bad for us
if we take every­thing out of it, it’s less than opti­mal
some­where in between is per­fect water for each per­son in the world (6 bil­lion dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions)
some­where in this line of think­ing is the inter­face of the future

sys­tem think­ing
no famous Roman math­emti­cians — they weren’t famous because they used Roman Numer­als, which was a stu­pid num­ber sys­tem
every num­ber was an equa­tion, which pre­vented them from doing any higher math with numer­als
– no place­holder num­bers
–> what sys­tems are we employ­ing today that are the equiv­a­lent of Roman Num­ber­als?
– Dewey Dec­i­mal Sys­tem, income tax code, “quart of oil“
is there a bet­ter sys­tem we could be using? invari­ably there is

Rick Wake­man video, key­board player for the rock band Yes
he writes music with 64th and 128th notes
the piece he played in the video could never have been played on a tra­di­tional piano — needed a mod­ern keyboard

Frey took a class about how to use a slide rule because he was told he had to
end of the slide rule era, begin­ning of the cal­cu­la­tor era
he named the space between the bot­tom inter­sec­tion the “Max­i­mum Freud“
a time of lots of chaos but also of lots of oppor­tu­nity
what tech­nolo­gies are at Max­i­mum Freud any­more?
– fax machines
– checks
– key­boards
– com­puter mon­i­tors and hard­ware
– tra­di­tional tele­vi­sion
– sign lan­guage
– inva­sive surgery
AM/FM radio
– drill & fill den­tistry
– the end of wires (tele­phone lines, cable TV lines, inter­net lines, and even power lines — within our lifetime)

the evo­lu­tion of books
in what year will the last printed book be pub­lished?
Guten­berg Press — by 1500, there were more than 5,000 books in print across Europe
through the Espresso Book Machine
some­thing like the Kin­dle may be as cheap as $5 in 5 years
at what point, is it too expen­sive for libraries to cir­cu­late print books?
when do ebook read­ers become so ubiq­ui­tous that it no longer makes sense to print ink on paper?
when does pub­lish­ing become down­load­ing titles
small pro­jec­tors built into devices
infor­ma­tion dis­plays built into things
what does a book look like in the future?

every forum now is akin to an online forum, with authors, experts and other read­ers avail­able to dis­cuss and answer ques­tions on almost every impor­tant book ever writ­ten
books are now conversations?

10 Global Trends
1. more peo­ple live in urban areas than rural areas (200,000 peo­ple a day migrate)
2. 840 mil­lion peo­ple crossed national bor­ders, more mobile soci­ety (as opposed to 50 mil­lion in 1950)
3. num­ber of new prod­uct launches (300 per day)
4. 550,000 new busi­nesses were launched every month in 2007
5. more than 50% of all women reported being sin­gle in 2005
– more than 50% increase in the num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing alone in the last 20 years
– counter trend of par­ents liv­ing with adult chil­dren — grew 67%
6. the num­ber of peo­ple work­ing through retire­ment has dou­bled
7. minori­ties will become the major­ity in 2042 (30% Lati­nos, 15% Blacks, 9% Asian)
– inter­ra­cial fam­i­lies, 1000% increase in the past 30 years
– will stop talk­ing about races in the future because they’ll be so unde­fined
– rises in the per­cent­age of pop­u­la­tions that are foreign-born
8. smaller fam­i­lies, big­ger houses (700 sq. ft. in 1900)
9. com­ing boom in data cen­ters (will con­sume 3% of global elec­tric­ity sup­ply by 2010; some­time before 2020 power con­sump­tion will dou­ble)
10. only 14% of all col­lege grad­u­ates live in the U.S.

how long will it be before peo­ple can get a Ph.D with­out being lit­er­ate?
the first time Frey lis­tened to an audio­book, he thought he was cheat­ing
read­ing is the process of trans­lat­ing the char­ac­ters (text) on the page
still do it with sound when lis­ten­ing to books
method doesn’t really mat­ter — it still counts
Socrates was not lit­er­ate — never wrote any­thing
wouldn’t know any­thing about him if Plato hadn’t writ­ten about him

is read­ing the ulti­mate infor­ma­tion expe­ri­ence?
are books a tech­nol­ogy equiv­a­lent to roman numerals?

future of edu­ca­tion
did an 18-month study on this topic
organ­i­cally gen­er­ated con­tent (courses) going to a global dis­trib­uted sys­tem
an iTunes-like approach to edu­ca­tion
teach­ing requires experts
we can’t train experts fast enough as infor­ma­tion expands expo­nen­tially
teach­ers become a chokepoint

over­lay a trend line of courses over YouTube, Wikipedia, and Google, it’s flat ver­sus the amount of infor­ma­tion being gen­er­ated — course­ware vac­uum
MIT Open­Course­Ware (1,400 courses) try­ing to fill that gap
– 12 uni­ver­si­ties have joined the Open­Course­Ware Con­sotrium (1,800 courses total available)

what is the most impor­tant thing I should be learn­ing today?
kids today aren’t being taught what they want to learn
what’s the pri­mary inflec­tion point for change?
– spe­cially archi­tected rapid course­ware build­ing, which doesn’t exist yet

12 dimen­sions of the future course­ware archi­tec­ture
60-minute learn­ing units
modal­ity and lan­guage agnos­tic (not just computer-based, get credit for expe­ri­ence); courses from every­where but man­aged online
smart pro­filer & rec­om­men­da­tion engine (what per­son is most inter­ested in and what they should take next)
truth & accu­racy — a high per­cent­age of what’s being taught in class­room today is the­o­ret­i­cal; every aspect of soci­ety has its own ver­sion of the truth
– need a truth author­ity? won’t work
– need a checks & bal­ances sys­tem where any group could put their stamp of approval or dis­ap­proval on these courses
cer­ti­fi­ca­tion inputs — early adopters for this will be pro­fes­sional asso­ci­a­tions (what con­sti­tutes suf­fi­cient learn­ing); home school­ers will also adopt this
offi­cial record-keeping sys­tem
global dis­tri­b­u­tion system

avail­able on demand 24/7, any­time, any­where
less depen­dent on teach­ers and schools, more indi­vid­ual con­trol
gen­eral study courses will be priced at $1/course
many schools will use these courses to plan their cur­ric­ula
teach­ers will go free­lance to cre­ate their own courses
stu­dents who grad­u­ate from the equiv­a­lent of high school in the future will be 10 times smarter than stu­dents today
the idea of tak­ing K-12 edu­ca­tion in one year, which will give rise to celebrity teach­ers
we’ll know when we get the right sys­tem put in place because a mil­lion new courses will be cre­ated
libraries will become the work­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries for the cre­ation of inno­v­a­tive new courses
libraries are cen­tral to his vision

com­mod­ity level — Star­bucks
prod­uct level — a cup of cof­fee
expe­ri­ence level is what they con­cen­trate on, though

how do we cre­ate the ulti­mate infor­ma­tion expe­ri­ence in libraries?
peo­ple are using their own PageR­ank test­ing to fig­ure out how rel­e­vant the library is to them individually

library as place, as opposed to library as ser­vice
build­ing is a gath­er­ing place

8 reccs for libraries of the future
to improve rel­e­vance in the minds of the community

1. cre­ate a search com­mand cen­ter in your library; make it easy to peo­ple find infor­ma­tion
– can look like a lot of dif­fer­ent things, but have to help them con­duct searches
– really only doing text search­ing right now, but need to pre­pare for other search attrib­utes beyond just audio and video (taste, smell, tex­ture, reflec­tiv­ity, etc.)
when every­one records what their glasses see, we’re spi­der­ing the phys­i­cal world

2. remote office space
– for every 100 peo­ple who get laid off, 7 will start a new busi­ness (not that they’ll suc­ceed), so will see a new era of entre­pre­neur­ship
– “empire of one“
– cloud com­put­ing trend = consumer-driven inno­va­tion, rise of the power col­lab­o­ra­tor, eco­nom­ics of IT are chang­ing, bar­ri­ers to entry are falling (con­nec­tiv­ity, reli­a­bil­ity, a qual­ity user expe­ri­ence, and secu­rity can now all be assumed)
– busi­ness colonies — group­ings of “project peo­ple” work­ing together as projects form, com­plete, and dis­ap­pear
—> at the heart of every busi­ness colony will be a library
– peo­ple who work from home suf­fer from either iso­la­tion or dis­trac­tions
—> they need another place to go (prover­bial “third place”)
if you were to design a library for these peo­ple, what would it look like? what fea­tures would it include?
remote office space? a telep­res­ence room?

3. pro­duc­tion stu­dios
“when the tools of pro­duc­tion are avail­able to every­one, every­one becomes a pro­ducer” — The Long Tail
tran­si­tion from con­sumers to pro­duc­ers
they want to take own­er­ship of what they cre­ate
– blog­ging sta­tions in the library, pod­cast stu­dios, one-way mir­ror glass so that oth­ers can watch the pro­duc­tion of con­tent
—> pas­sive learn­ing to active pro­duc­ing centers

4. band prac­tice stu­dios
there are 2.2 mil­lion bands on MySpace right now, and every­one needs a space to prac­tice
if you put in sound­proof rooms, they’ll get used non-stop, all the time

5. enter­tain­ment stu­dios
gam­ing now touches 75% of all US house­holds
Sec­ond Life and vir­tual world sta­tions (cre­at­ing dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ca­tion vehi­cles)
mini-theaters, mini-planetariums that peo­ple can use to cre­ate con­tent and post it
art stu­dios to make a cul­tural hub
exer­cise stu­dios that com­bine learn­ing and recreation

6. expert series
so many peo­ple are uncom­fort­able with tech­nol­ogy, so once a month, could put some tech experts at the front of the room and let the audi­ence ask ques­tions; let the con­ver­sa­tion go where it may
social learn­ing
fig­ure out what’s of inter­est to the com­mu­nity while rais­ing the tech IQ of the community

7. time cap­sule room
archiv­ing the his­tory of the com­mu­nity
what did it sound like to drive down Main Street? what did it smell like?
cre­ate the room but let the pub­lic decide what it turns into
many local com­pa­nies will prob­a­bly want their orga­ni­za­tions archived there

8. poetry park
pub­lic plac­ing inscrip­tions on large rocks set out around a park

elec­tronic outposts/branches
– mag­a­zines & peri­od­i­cals
– read­ing area
– search com­mand cen­ter
– stu­dios
– no books
– effi­cient oper­a­tion 1–2 peo­ple staffing it

extend­ing influ­ence
very few library haters out there
very lit­tle out­bound com­mu­ni­ca­tion — need to change that; weekly online newsletter?

how do we cap­i­tal­ize on epipha­nies?
make your library an epiphany cen­ter where peo­ple can have ideas and then have the tools to act on them

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11:29 am Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. Good think­ing stuff

    Comment by unstranger — February 19, 2009 @ 8:22 pm

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