Futurehunting with will.i.am and Brian David Johnson at MacWorld

In this session at MacWorld, will.i.am (of Black Eye Peas)  and Brian David Johnson (at Intel) speak about the future of gadgets and technology. will.i.am has recently gained recogizition for releasing a iPhone camera case (called the i.am+ foto.sosho) that increases resolution and offers different lens mounts. He wore one on stage as well. When you realize that will.i.am is know for music and colorful outfits, you see why this is a big deal. Brian David Johnson is a futurist at Intel. One of his main jobs is to develop an actionable vision of computing in 2020. Brian has written a book called Screen Future and works on Intel’s Tomorrow Project as well.

So how are these varied backgrounds going to help predict the future? Brian interviewed will.i.am onstage at MacWorld to talk about Futurehunting. will.i.am says it’s “Just looking at people”. (It seemed that futurehunting in will.i.am instance is very similar to work done by Malcom Gladwell’s work in the book “The Tipping Point”.) Culture (music/popular culture in this instance) and technology (internet/cellphones) are providing new innovations that are unpredictable. Some of these innovations are found globally while some are discovered locally. will.i.am mentioned how different types of music affects people’s actions in public and private settings.

Brian and will.i.am don’t want to predict the future, instead they want to affect/change the future. Both of them work on Transform, a futurist conference based around the thought of change. While this work is currently only in Southern California, they plan to expand nationwide soon. will.i.am is a huge advocate of the STEM education in the USA.

“Steampunk” is a focus point for Brian. He partnered with a historian to see what Steampunk has to offer the future. What can putting current technology in the past teach about people about technology in the future? By seeing what people would have wanted in the past can help predict what future technology will be important. It’s a meta way to look at it but as will.i.am says “Steampunk is basically technology with a artist thrown in.”

Speaking of Steampunk, will.i.am talks about his i.am+ foto.sosho and how it’s been inspired by steampunk. You load your phone like a film cartridge (polaroid). By adding more features to the cameraphone, and internet, you end up with a hybrid product of a digital SLR, cameraphone, and point and shoot. It’s a similar concept to the Samsung point and shoot camera that runs Android and has a built in cellular data. Will it catch on? Only time will tell.

It was a slightly disjointed talk but you can clearly see how will.i.am and Brian are helping shape the future.