The future of digital communication

New technologies are emerging that could change the way we work and communicate. We're exploring some of them in our upcoming Hot Topics event.

I am an inveterate adopter of new communication technologies.

The latest games console will leave me cold but give me a new way of exchanging information and I'm there: Hotmail in 1997, Skype in 2004, twitter and Facebook in 2007 - even Pownce and Friendfeed.

Telepresence robots

The first (and most exciting for some of my NESTA colleagues) is the use of telepresence robots, highlighted in a New York Times article earlier this year: 'The boss is robotic, and rolling up behind you'.

Described as extending the experience of video conferencing out of the meeting room and into offices and hallways, telepresence robots project a remote user's voice and sometimes image onto a robot which can roam hallways and transmit pictures back to the user.

They are being deployed in the offices of technology companies like Mozilla, as well as in hospitals.

Information overload

The second trend has been around for a much longer time - the hand-wringing over 'information overload', 'email bankruptcy' and other phrases that suggest electronic communications are ruining our lives.

The argument goes that email, twitter, instant messaging and text messaging have made it too easy to communicate and we simply don't have enough time to respond to all the information we receive.

I am a strong believer that it is not the 'fault' of technology if we feel overloaded and I was keen for this Hot Topics event to explore how we can change the way we use communication technology, in order to make it more effective, more human and more meaningful.

We are hoping to explore these issues in the next Hot Topics event on the 1st June, next Wednesday morning, starting at 8:30am BST.

Digital you

We have a great selection of speakers coming to this event: French robot and software company Gostai are coming along with their Jazz Connect telepresence robot, fresh from e>G8, and CEO Jean-Christophe Baillie will be speaking.

Nick Sheppard, head of collaboration for Cisco UK and Ireland will be talking about how video and telepresence can create a different type of interaction.

Richard Harper, a researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, and author of 'Texture' will talk about how we can use different technologies for different purposes.

And Ghislaine Boddington from body>data>space, who have been working with NESTA on our 'Robots and Avatars' project, will talk about their experiences with blended virtual & physical spaces

We have collected a page of resources on the theme of 'Digital You', with links to books, articles and videos, where you can read up on some of the issues ahead of the event, or explore more afterwards.

If you can't attend, you can follow #nestahottopics on twitter, and catch up with the video after the event, as well as our online recap.


Louise Marston

Louise Marston

Louise Marston

Director of Innovation Policy and Futures

Louise was Director of Innovation Policy and Futures within the Policy and Research team. She managed Nesta's work on innovation policy and technology futures. She previously worked on…

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