From 6th till 8th of May the re:publica, Europe’s biggest conference on digital and social media, took place in Berlin. More than 5,000 attendees discussed over three days internet policy, network neutrality and the future of social media campaigns. The most controversial topic at the moment in Germany are the plans of the Deutsche Telekom, which announced already in the beginning of May, that they will choke the speed of the internet in the nearest future. The hosts of the re:publica, Markus Beckedahl, Johnny (@spreeblick) and Tanja Häusler (@elektrotanja) as well as Andreas Gebhard, called up the participants to appeal to their government to anticipate these plans: “Avoid that the Telekom introduces a 2nd class internet!” Tanja Häusler said: “If we can now afford limitations for the sake of commercial interests, if there are no more protests against these limitations, we have to realize, in fact, that the digital society is growing continously, but still, has no power to public opinion.”
IN/SIDE/OUT – The link between online and offline
The motto of this year reminds of the difficulty to connect people from the online and the offline world: “With this in mind, the motto IN/SIDE/OUT can be read as an upending of the digital society: Facebook is reaching one billion users, established newspapers are folding to the net-based competition, and Twitter, which was once the tool for alternative civilian war correspondence, is being utilised by militaries to communicate their combat targets. While we were always sure that at some point everyone would use the mechanisms offered by Web2.0, the question remains: Who profits in the end? Will citizens embrace obligations of governments and businesses to become more transparent, while at the same time tolerate the non-transparency of those companies which form the structures of the internet? Or will we soon pull the plug and return to a place where privacy is tangible again? Will we replace the INternet with an OUTernet?”
Sascha Lobo: Who’s afraid of Augmented Reality?
Lobo is one of Germany’s most established digital avantgardists, working as an author, columnist and speaker on digitial issues and net politics. He held his keynote on Monday not without mentioning an amazing technology such as augmented reality is. He is fascinated in AR, but honestly understands the fear of people, who don’t know what to expect about it: “It’s like the radioactivity of Internet. There has to come up a lot of awareness training on augmented reality in the future. At the moment it provokes fear on this invisible, unknown power. There is still an anxiety for the merge of the digital and real life.” He himself is enthusiatic about Ingress, an augmented reality game produced by NinanticLabs, which he played passionately in the last weeks: “It’s the most ‘nerdy’ game one can imagine.” Unfortunately, Ingress “guzzles” a lot of energy, but is lot of fun, he said.
Francesco Lapenta: A Critical look on Augmented Reality
Yesterday I’ve visited Francesco Lapenta‘s presentation with the amazing title “Mediated Life after Virtualization. A Critical Look at the Scenarios Forecast by New Wearable Augmented Reality Visualization Technologies.” He agreed so far with Lobo, that there is still a huge insecurity according to new wearable devices which are visualizing information. People usually have six senses and he imagines that all these senses should be combined in one mobile (augmenting) device such as for example Google Glass and giving real added value to people: “Our Augmented Reality device could interact with these machines, and there could be competetional power of different senses which could interact with your vision and offers you help to learn more.” But what does it really mean for us? He asked: “What will follow the inevitable technological peak and demise of old communication technologies such as the mobile and the screen? If the mobile embodied the newly acquired freedom from the constrained spaces of earlier mediated communications? New “seamless” and “immersive” technological evolutions will acquire social, cultural and market dominance while cannibalizing previous technological milestones very much like television did with photography, radio and cinema, and the computer did with them all. what are the consequences of a technology that does not pretend anymore to “simulate” reality or its visualization but now “naturally” creates the way we see the world and experience it?”
If you want to see the whole presentation, please watch the video:
I still feel overwhelmed by all these very great sessions at the re:publica and would like to recommend the #rp14 to you taking place on the May 5 – 7, 2014 in Berlin.
There was not enough time for me to attend in all events and if you are interested as well, we can also follow the re:publica YouTube channel with all presentations and keynotes.