Audience Thoughts On Richard Banks’ Good Ideas Talk

Audience Thoughts On Richard Banks’ Good Ideas Talk
Jeff Squires
  • 19 february 2009

This past January, PSFK held a Good Ideas Salon in London bringing together the most forward-thinking tastemakers, innovators, and experts from around the world to discuss key areas steering innovation and opportunity.  In addition the the good ideas presented, we wanted to hear what our audience had to say, so we’re doing a series of posts containing feedback and comments from the event sourced from blogs, magazines, and twitter.  We’ve distilled the commentary, now you tell us which is the best idea…

At the Good Ideas Salon London, Richard Banks (Microsoft) talked about the histories we are creating about ourselves through digital media and how our children and grand children will think of and play those histories and the artefacts we leave behind (think loaded iPod).

As John V Willshire from Feeding the Puppy pointed out, Richard based his presentation on the difference between the wooden chest his grandfather used to store the hundreds of photos accumulated over his lifetime versus the way we currently manage the thousands of digital photos we take in a single year.

As technology continues to infiltrate our collective lives, there has been a correlating increase in the ability and desire to catalog and share minute details part of individuals lives – both online and offline. But, as the Juicy Blog brings up, how will we cope with the growing amounts of digital content we are creating? What will happen to it all as it is passed down to future generations?

The fast turnaround of technology and adoption of new gadgets means we are constantly consuming and producing more digital content. But, as Richard points out, how will we cope with the every growing amounts of digital content we are creating? What will happen to it all as it is passed down to next generations?

John Willshire responds by noting:

Objects could be created to encourage families you change them, giving them a patina of the people who’ve owned them. [Richard] showed a technology called Photosynth, which allows you to take lots of pictures of a place, and turn the set into a 3D environment… it’s brilliant, have a shot…

Richard talked about the guilt we have with traditional heirlooms – the boxes of personal possessions a loved one leaves us that we put away in an attic. We can’t bring ourselves to throw those things away more through guilt than practicality. What will our children feel when we bestow an unedited collection of 30,000 photos? Richard said that we need to shape what we leave. The reporter from Core 77 agreed and said:

“The newest idea was presented by Richard Banks, put the case for digital heirlooms as a way of managing the quality, quantity and meaning of a life time’s digital content.”

The team at Iris also saw a theme in Richard’s talk that was repeated throughout the day:

Legacy. This one came up a few times, in a few guises. From the London Olympics to “jam recipes as heirlooms”, the idea was that people want permanent stuff with lasting value, not just disposable tat. Equally they want the key events in their lives to have a lasting legacy, through services like

Overall, the audience seemed to appreciate Richard’s frank talk on “death”. Andy Whitlock commented:

Richard Banks from Microsoft was very good. He talked about digital heirlooms, which I have ambivalent thoughts towards so won’t say anything yet. But I shall follow his blog because I like his brain.”


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