Before a few days ago I had no idea who Nicholas Negroponte was.
Tonight I attended his session titled “Beyond Digital,” held by the LongNow Foundation, which hosts monthly seminars about long term thinking.
Going into the event I really had no idea what to expect, though it seems that they’d planned it this way. My inspiration for attending was a combination of my high regard for the LongNow Foundation plus the intriguing title of the session (or just the fact that it had the word “digital” in it).
Whenever I attend presentations, workshops, etc. I often feel obligated to leave with a “take-away” — a major lesson learned, a to-do that I can go directly apply to my own life. Yet I don’t think this is always warranted. I like hearing and seeing things that make me think, and hearing Mr. Negroponte gave me plenty to chew on. Among many topics that were covered in only 90 minutes, a few thoughts of his that resonated with me were:
- One major problem with education (among many) is that age is the deciding factor for when and what students are supposed to learn.
- Nationalism is a cancer.
- Startups are a waste of human resources for bigger, more important ideas.
- He thinks very highly of non-profits and is not fond of how free market economics influence the decision making by for-profit businesses.
These are only four of many topics that were covered, and each one is worthy of debate and days’ worth of discussion. I’d like to sit here and carefully pound out my thoughts on each one, but what I think I liked most about the seminar was that the way in which the topics were covered was a great mix of both how technology has developed exponentially in the digital era, while other behaviors and processes seem to be stuck in the mud despite it.