Reboot 9 : Human 

5 June 2007  
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The theme of Reboot 9 was humanity. It certainly spoke to a whole lot of people as there were 600 people in attendance in Copenhagen this year. It didn’t speak to some of the more techie developers as I noticed a distinct absence of some of the more hard-core developers from last year.

Reboot 9

For me, Reboot is all about drinking in some of the philosophical stuff on where we are now, where it’s all going. Then stagger out of the main room into the smaller break-out sessions and engage in more informal conversations. When nothing on the schedule grabs me, it’s about the real chat over coffees sitting in the sun; I was on a particular buzz about how great it is to be European this year as I lapped up the atmosphere. The mood outside on day 1 reminded me of a chill out room in a club – energy, excitement, and lots of gorgeous Scandinavians!

reboot 9

The Main Bits

So here’s a round-up of some of the main bits that stuck in my head this year. The extra special ones will get an entry all to themselves

Kick Off

  • – the theme is ‘human’ so it was appropriate that the scene be set by an academic who has just published a book called “Civilisation 2.0”. I didn’t catch his name unfortunately. How rude of me.

Q. What does it mean to be human? What separates us from computers?
A. Fairness and feeling.

Humans have emotions, we’re not all governed by meaning and value. When it comes to it, humans will lose money for reasons of fairness. We don’t follow the rational patterns of cost benefit analysis.

But because we’ve all become so wired, we’re in the middle of a change in how and what we value. We’re moving away from the values and norms that have been in place since the Industrial Revolution. In the new world order, bottom-up replaces centralised headquarters. We’re moving back to greener energy (this was in Denmark and they are so much more switched on than us Far Western Europeans), markets are more about the long tail than the mass. And there’s more of a focus on flow, than on matter.

He ended by quoting Einstein – “Remember your humanity and forget the rest”.

  • Jeremy Keith, an Irishman living in Brighton, gave an excellent presentation on Soul and what he thinks that means.

Soul is what makes us unique.
Most definitions of soul relate to the self and the story we tell of ourselves.
That’s what forms our own consciousness; who we are.
So then should be consider all the bits that tell our story online – our Flickr, Bebo, Dopplr accounts – to be part of our soul? Interesting thought.


  • Or – what is the point of Twitter? And Jaiku?

I listened to the Jyri Engestrom of Jaiku, a technically superior microblogging service to Twitter, talk about what makes it great. I went in with an open mind and what I took away from his presentation were his closing messages which were steeped in humanity.

Why he loves Jaiku?

  1. When his wife was pregnant, it gave him great piece of mind to simply glance at his mobile, see the green light that she’s online, and know that everything was alright.
  2. He told a touching story about how his Dad has remarried and has another family; they don’t see much of each other anymore. But it gives him a good feeling to see the green online light beside his dad and know that wherever he is, whatever he’s doing, that he’s doing alright.

Anecdotally, I was asking people did they see a point in Twitter? A good answer from someone else was that for some of ‘these guys – they don’t answer email. They don’t give out their mobile phone. The only way you can reach them is on Twitter.’ The point being that if you’re on Twitter, you’re worth talking to?

  • John Husband….From Hierarchy to Wirearchy. . . dynamic 2 way flows of power and authority based on info, knowledge, trust and cred, enabled by interconnected people and tech.

While I found this to be very thought provoking at the time, the only bits I remember are that “first we shape our structures, then our structures shape us…”. And we’re in front of massive changes at a tipping point with regard to social, environment, financial, personal and psychological systems.

Yes indeed we are. But that’s all for now folks!

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