Sunday, June 24, 2012

Gaining Momentum Towards the Knowledge Singularity

It must have been February this year when IEEE Technology Time Machine (a three-day conference on technologies beyond the year 2020) reached my awareness. Information technology being the main topic, I already envisioned an accelerated buzz on the local media, and beyond - Dresden being one of the major hotspots in emerging technologies within the European Community. The activity on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ being pretty low, yet not unexpected, as the worldwide engineering community around IEEE has members, engineers, who are certainly not that active on social networks.
So, by good chance I got the opportunity to cover the event live. I did so mainly on Twitter using the hashtag #IEEETTM, and I certainly was not the only one (see Slideshare presentation). During and after the conference there was little to no local activity. "Could it be the English language that held back contributors?" - was my question immediately coming to mind.

Mid-June, there appeared the next conferences in the high-tech context happening in Dresden. And another surprising phone call got me invited as official blogger in residence for the Kick-off of the World Forum of Universities of Resources on Sustainability at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg (the world's oldest mining university). Best time to check on the above research question, this time 90% of the participants from none-German-speaking countries. The hashtag #WFURS going to the East coast of the U.S. 

Again not much activity during (astonishing, as the free WiFi-connection was given to all participants) the event, and even less afterwards - despite the fact that the 63rd Research Forum followed directly after the World Forum.

The observed phenomenon accelerated the urge to dig deeper whether we have already a kind of  Information Singularity, where overburdening (seemingly) conferences and social media activities are kicking people's awareness of what is going on in the region completely off. Traditional media, with a strong urge of control and journalistic professionalism slowing down the flow of knowledge, that totally new, and unpredicted behavior of the actors in the system happen. A "Black Hole" of information, and knowledge overflow?

A more than interesting research question to follow up - stay tuned.

2012-07-05 Update: Social Media is the Glue of Innovation via game changer Charles van der Haegen

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