Deep in the pine forests of Monterey, California, the land of midnight mists, roaring surf and the birthplace of the human potential movement (Esalen), Harald Neidhardt brought his own European brand of passion and inspiration to the future of mobile at his first U.S. MLOVE conference (Asilomar, April 24-26th).
Founded in Germany, Neidhardt’s MLOVE conferences bridge art, science, philosophy, and fun in a fresh approach to the explosive opportunities in mobile. Poetry and drum circles kicked off the event, which is decidedly more spiritually informed than most mobile conferences. Abraham Maslow, the famous “Hierarchy of Needs” Esalen scholar, would have appreciated the eclectic speaker mix featuring business pragmatists and globally renowned futurists.
Salim Ismail, entrepreneur and founding director of Singularity University, opened the program with an impassioned plea for revolutionizing higher education, pointing to the problem of curriculum obsolescence, where science and technology advances outpace curriculum development: “We’ve never had this problem before, in the history of human kind, where a student can complete four years of university and what he’s learned upon graduation is obsolete.”
Burning Man’s “technology dominatrix,” Heather Gallagher, described the herculean efforts involved in bringing technology to Black Rock City, and her efforts to sensibly limit its use. She pointed to the irony of attendees begging for Internet connectivity when real life and art are burning all around them.
Beverly Jackson of The Recording Academy, which produces the Grammy Awards, outlined a massively effective mobile/social strategy. Singularity’s Brad Templeton, advisor to Google and BitTorrent, discussed the inevitability and momentum behind the connected car. “Robocars could eliminate up to 80 percent of crashes,” he said. “And I think they will do even better in time.”
In all, The MLOVE conference lived up to its name, as attendees grappled with the responsibilities and possibilities of designing for “the most personal device ever,” and found themselves choosing creative altruism over exploitation. “Design with love,” one speaker concluded simply. Everyone in the room nodded in agreement. The famously self-actualized Maslow surely smiled down.