Happy New Year!

Hope your 2013 was as good as mine. Highlights from last year for me were founding FutureCast and holding four really memorable events. The last two were particularly fun: one with Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick, discussing the uniqueness of Silicon Valley; another with the California's Lieutenant Governor, the incomparable Gavin Newsom. Here are my TechcrunchTV interviews I did with Kirkpatrick and Newsom at FutureCast; and here and here are the features that Techonomy ran about my conversation with Kirkpatrick. I'm hoping that 2014 will turn out to be as good as 2013. I'm currently in Las Vegas preparing to moderate a FutureCast style keynote at CES on Tuesday 7 January featuring the CEO's of Ericsson and Qualcomm and the CTO of AT&T. And in a couple of weeks, in the evening of January 21st, I'm producing an event about women and tech at the BloombergBETA offices in San Francisco.

Please let me know if you like to attend either of these events. At CES, we've got the first few rows reserved for VIPs. And the BloombergBETA event will feature a great panel of speakers including Nilofer Merchant, Vivek Wadhwa and Elizabeth Stark.

I hope see you somewhere fun in 2014.

Is the Internet for or against you?

It's a question that I've been thinking about a lot recently:  Is the Internet for or against you? It's a question that I'll be formally discussing on November 12th at David Kirkpatrick's Techonomy event in Tuscon, Arizona. And it's one that I'll be discussing later this month too: first at the Oxford Union, on November 22nd, when I'll be one of the people going "head to head" with my old frenemy, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, at an Al-Jazeera sponsored debate; and then on November 28th, in Milan, at the ICS event, when I'll be taking on digital guru Ben Hammersley. David Kirkpatrick has generously agreed to reverse the favor and headline our next FutureCast event on November 14th at the Palo Alto Foundry.  David and I will be talking about innovation in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in a wide ranging discussion entitled "How Far is My Valley". The AT&T and Ericsson hosted event begins with drinks and dinner at the Foundry at 6.00 and then the interactive discussion at 7.00. Please email me if you'd like to added to the guest list. We've already got an impressive list of start-up entrepreneurs, investors and technologists signed up and it promises to be a really fun evening.

I'm also thrilled that Gavin Newsom, California's Lieutenant General and the author of Citizenville has agreed to speak at our final FutureCast of the year. On December 3, Gavin and I will discuss smart cities, smart politics and how digital technology can help us get to a smart future. If you want to be part of our smart audience for this lunchtime event, please let me know.

Hope to see some of you somewhere in November.

FutureCast update & October speaking tour in Europe

My FutureCast event, generously hosted by AT&T and Ericsson at the Palo Alto Foundry, continues to be a lot of fun. Our latest event featured the always stimulating and controversial Vivek Wadhwa, who had much to say about everything from the status of women in Silicon Valley to the death of the traditional office. Here are two video pieces that CNN just ran about this FutureCast: the first about women and technology; the second about the future of the office. Our next FutureCast, on Thursday November 14, features David Kirkpatrick, the author of The Facebook Effect and the founder of the excellent Techonomy conference, speaking about innovation in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. David may be joined by one or two surprise local guests. As usual, we begin FutureCast with drinks at the Foundry at 6.00 pm and then the interactive discussion at 7.00 pm. Please email me if you'd like to added to the guest list. The last events have been oversubscribed, so I can't guarantee a ticket. But I will do my best to get you in.

I hope to see some of my European friends this month. I'm in Pisa on Saturday to speak at the Italian Internet Festival. Then in Brussels next Thursday, October 17, to keynote the Safer Internet Forum. In Brussels, I'll also be presenting a white paper on intellectual property piracy that I just wrote for ICOMP. I'm in London the following weekend for the Battle of Ideas festival, where I'm speaking on three panels including one with fellow y-ddo David Aaronovitch about the death of privacy. Then I go to Zurich on October 22 for another Battle of Ideas conversation about privacy, this one also featuring Gerd Leonhard.

So I hope to see you either later this month in Europe or on November 14 at FutureCast.

 

Bohemian Rhapsody

Sorry about heading, but I couldn't resist. I was featured as the cover story in this week's edition of my local Sonoma newspaper, the North Bay Bohemian, which was especially fun because of the cover's vertiginous artwork. Other media highlights this month include being interviewed about YouTube on BBC's Culture Show and critiquing Silicon Valley transparency on the Kulturzeit, the German ZDF/3sat tv program.  Also check out my recent TechcrunchTV interviews with the smart economist Tyler Cowen and Internet Hall of Famer Brewster Kahle. I've been doing a lot of public speaking in the last few weeks too. I'm just back from a tour of Asia - having given speeches about digital disruption in Kuala Lumpur and at the Rappler/Google Big Data event in Manila . And i'm returning to Asia this coming week, keynoting the Singapore Fix Conference on Thursday, where I'll be talking about the impact of the digital revolution on the financial industry. Earlier this month, I also had the honor of being the featured speaker at the opening convocation at New Jersey's Rampapo College. All 900 students in Rampapo's freshman class read Digital Vertigo with one or two even agreeing with it.

I'll also be speaking at Creative Convergence Silicon Valley (C2SV) in San Jose on September 26 and then moderating a panel about wearable computing at the Glazed Conference in San Francisco on September 30. I hope to see some you somewhere in the next couple of weeks so that we can figure out if this is the real life or just fantasy.

Against fireside chats

I'm currently deep in the tropics of Washington DC, speaking tomorrow, June 4, at the modestly named World Creators Summit about how to immodestly monetize one's creativity in the digital age. This coming Thursday, June 6, I'm back in the chilly Bay Area, doing a "fireside chat" (how I hate that term) with David Helgason, CEO of United Technologies, at the Nordic Start-Up evening. Then, next week, I fly to Seoul where I'm speaking at Sparks Labs NEXT conference on June 14. Other speakers at NEXT include Richard Florida and Ray Ozzie, so - if you happen to be in north-east Asia in the middle of next week - do say hello, it promises to be a really fun event. After that, I'm back home to prepare to interview the stimulating and controversial Vivek Wadhwa for our next FutureCast event on June 25 at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto. Vivek will talk about the future of work, innovation, immigration, and (the lack of) female leadership in Silicon Valley. With an exclusive audience of top entrepreneurs, investors, technologists and writers, this promises to be at least as memorable as our first highly interactive salon-style FutureCast event about the future of transportation in April. Please let me know if you like to be considered for an invitation.

Mercifully, we don't allow fireside chats on my "Keen On" TechcrunchTV show. So check out my TCTV conversations with two of the most brilliant minds in technology - Jaron Lanier and Stephen Wolfram - whose perspectives on big data couldn't be more different. Also, if you have a minute, please have a look at my uncharacteristically generous review of Eric Schmidt's new book The New Digital Age.

Introducing FutureCast

I'm thrilled to be producing FutureCast, a salon-style event hosted by AT&T and Ericsson, which brings together some of Silicon Valley's finest minds to discuss the digital revolution. Each event, held at AT&T's spectacular Palo Alto Foundry, invites a select group of entrepreneurs, investors, writers and executives to talk about the ways in which networked technology is radically changing education, cities, healthcare and every other aspect of 21st century life. Our first event focused on transportation. FutureCast guests included executives from transportation companies such as GM, Tesla, American Airlines, San Francisco Municipal Transporation Authority and Sidecar as well as Silicon Valley notables like Frost and Sullivan chairman David Frigstad, distinguished New York Times science correspondent John Markoff, EFF Chairman Brad Templeton, Techcrunch co-founder Keith Teare, Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens and best selling business writer Larry Downes. This is how AT&T CTO John Donovan reported it. CNN covered the event in this five part video series:

-- Transportation's Kodak Moment -- The Driverless Car -- Are We Falling Out Of Love With Our Cars? -- Privacy & The Connected Car -- The Global View

Our next FutureCast, featuring the controversial Silicon Valley author and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa, will address how the networked revolution is radically changing the economics of work, with a special focus on Wadhwa's signature issues such as immigration reform. This event, once again held at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, is scheduled for the evening of Tuesday June 25. Please let me know if you'd like to be considered for an invitation.

My Italian Job

My third favorite all-time movie is The Italian Job (behind Vertigo & Shadow of a Doubt). I even managed to squeeze a reference about it into Digital Vertigo (the scene in the Oxford jail). So it's appropriate that I'm about to embark on my own lower case italian job to celebrate the publication of the Italian version of Vertigine Digitale.  Beginning April 28, I'll be in Perugia, Milan, Venice, Bologna and (for my sins) Capri where I'll be speaking at an event about trend setting. Here's the full schedule of "Il Tour Di Andrew Keen In Italia". Before Italy, I'll be at my favorite European tech conference - The Next Web extravaganza in Amsterdam. This coming Thursday, I'm doing a debate with my best enemy, Robert Scoble, about Google Glass. Given that Scoble is now wearing his all-seeing Glass in public urinals, our debate might turn out to be quite a pissing contest. Then on Friday, I'll be interviewing my old friend Gary Shapiro, CEA President and the author of the best-selling Ninja Innovation.

Please also check out my CNN piece this week on the potentially positive impact of networked technology on autism. And to temper such uncharacteristic optimism, you might also enjoy my latest TCTV interview with Silicon Valley arch-critic Evgeny Morozov.

See you in Capri.

For-Your-Eyes-Only

My latest CNN piece about Google Glass has got a lot of attention - including upcoming interviews on both Al Jazeera and the Chinese CCTV network. This is just the first paragraph in the first chapter about privacy and wearable computing. Do we really want strangers taking photos of us every 5 seconds? Scary. Very scary. Please also check out my latest TechcrunchTV interviews with California Lieutenant General Gavin Newsom, Top Dog author Po Bronson & the Pullitzer prize winning New York Times journalist Matt Richtel. I'd appreciate any suggestions about interesting people I should be interviewing for my show. The only condition is that they must have some connection to digital technology.

I'm just back from DC where I spoke at the excellent xpotomac conference. I'm in the Bay Area for the next ten days, then off to the UK to speak at Julia Hobsbawn's Names Not Numbers event. So in London week of March 18 if anyone wants to get together.

Fingers and everything else crossed for Sunday. I've been waiting 18 years for this.

COYS.

Happy Holidays

I'm just back from a monster Digital Vertigo tour of Europe, Asia and Latin America. The highlight was probably my TED talk in Brussels which got me into lots of delightful trouble. I'm taking a rest from speaking in December, but will be back into action at the beginning of the new year. My calendar for 2013 is already filling up fast, so please let me know if you want me to speak at your event next year. I'm now trying to do some writing. See my recent op-ed in the Financial Times about the role of software in the new industrial revolution and two CNN pieces - something on freedom of speech on Twitter and an essay this week about the anti-trust investigations of Google. I'm also enjoying my "Keen On" TechcrunchTV show, particularly my conversations with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak at TED and with that great techno-provocateur Ray Kurweil.

With the holidays fast approaching, I wish all of you - irrespective of creed (except Arsenal fans, of course) - a wonderfully happy festive season. Please keep in touch and I hope to see many of you next year.

My newsletter makes news

I write a monthly newsletter which you sign up for here. My September newsletter made news with former FT journalist Tom Foremski suggesting on ZDNet that I get paid up to $50,000 for my speaking gigs. "There's gold in techno-pessimism", Foremski thus notes about my packed schedule. And October, I'm pleased to report, continues to be golden. Already this month I've given speeches in London, Amsterdam and Southampton University and this weekend I'm in London for The Battle of Ideas festival where I'm doing a panel about the future of big ideas. Next week I'm in Chicago for a debate about education with David Weinberger at the Learning 3.0 conference and I end the month in Osaka, speaking about financial privacy at the Sibos conference. According to Foremski's maths, then, I'll earn around $350,000 in October. Not bad for a vulgar techno-pessimist, eh?

And November is equally golden. I'm in Belgium and Holland for the first half of the month, launching the Dutch version of Digital Vertigo. I'm speaking at iMinds in Ghent on November 8, TEDx Brussels on November 12, Media & Learning Brussels on November 14 and the BorderSessions festival in The Hague on November 16. I'm then in Istanbul on November 21 for a speech about education at the Kalite Kongresi and in Guadalajara on November 23 to speak at the Iberoamerican Publishers Conference.

Getting from Istanbul to Guadalajara in 24 hours might be tricky. But I guess I can always buy a private jet.

Hope to see some of you in the next few weeks. Drinks on me, of course.

Cheers.

 

Whew!

June was quite a month. I'm just back from a three week tour of Europe where I spoke about Digital Vertigo in Lisbon, London, Amsterdam, Dublin, Bristol, Trieste and Venice. I also spent a few days in Athens researching a very uplifting story about Greek digital reinvention which will appear on CNN later this week. Media coverage of the trip was great including this Reuters video, an extensive feature in L'Espresso and my own CNN story about "faster than real-time" technology. This week, I return London where I'm speaking at the Editorial Intelligence Mobile World conference on Thursday 7/12 and then keynoting the International and European Associations Congress in Liverpool on Monday 7/16. From there, I fly to Washington DC on 7/18 for "The Great Privacy Debate" at the National Press Club in which I partner with EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg against TechFreedom's Adam Thierer and Berin Szoka. I then travel to Dallas on 7/19 for a lunchtime talk with Telligent CEO Patrick Brandt sponsored by IPI. Finally, I'm spending 7/20-23 in Jackson Hole at the Internet Cowboy Un-Conference where, for one weekend, I will swap my Antichrist fork for a pair of stirrups.

So no rest for the wicked. And August will be pretty busy too. I'm speaking at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 8/12, in conversation with the Scottish writer Ewan Morrison. Then I'm doing the lunch keynote on 8/21 in Colorado at Technology Policy Institute's Aspen Summit. From Aspen, I fly to Sao Paolo to speak at The Next Web's inaugural Latin American conference on 8/23 and will then - hardship of hardships - be forced to spend a few days in Rio launching the Brazilian version of Digital Vertigo.

Digital Vertigo tour comes to Bay Area

I'm just back from Brussels, where I keynoted an ICOMP event and crossed swords with Erica Mann, Facebook's top lobbyist at the EU, at the Personal Democracy Forum. But my most viral Facebook moment this week was the publication of a rather naughty CNN piece about the "Zucking-Up of the Human Race" which, ironically, has already racked up almost 18,000 "likes" on Facebook itself. Other highlights this week include three really fabulous features on Digital Vertigo: the first with Anne Trubek at The Barnes and Noble Review, the second with Ian Burrell of the London Independent, the third with Jamillah Knowles on BBC Five Live's Outriders Show, and fourth with Imran Garda on Al-Jazeera's The Stream. This weekend, The Digital Vertigo tour pulls into the Bay Area. Tomorrow, on Sunday  June 3 (4.00-6.00 pm), I'm at the Hillside Club in Berkeley speaking with the illustrious filmmaker Tiffany Shlain and EFF board member Brad Templeton. On Monday June 4 (5.00-7.00pm), I'm in conversation with Reputation.com CEO Michael Fertik at his Silicon Valley HQ (1001 Marshall St, Redwood City, CA 94063). On Tuesday, June 5, I'm debating Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow at the Economist's Information 2012 in San Francisco. On Wednesday, June 6, I'm in Petaluma, live on Leo Laporte's Triangulation TWiT show. And then on Thursday morning June 7, I'm in Napa, on a panel about online privacy and our right to be forgotten at The Tech Policy Summit.

So I hope I'll see many Bay Area folks somewhere this week. Both the Hillside Club and the Reputation.com events promise to be particularly fun, with drinks, book signing and lots of time to chat. So please let me know if you can come.

Digital Vertigo out now!

Yes, the (e)book is out in both the US and UK, so no excuses now for not reading. For those who prefer to listen rather than read, It's also out as an audiobook on Audible with me narrating. This first week has been pretty incredible in terms of press coverage. Here are some highlights: -- Controversial New York Times interview with Nick Bilton

-- Rave Forbes review by Ryan Holliday

-- The Verge interview with Laura June

-- BBC Night Waves interview

-- Atlantic piece by me about engineering serendipity

-- The Next Web interview with Jamillah Knowles

-- Forbes interview with Dan Schwabel

-- Much commented upon excerpt on InternetEvolution

-- Pando Daily interview with Paul Carr

-- Not so rave Forbes review from Adam Thierer (so I don't get too big headed)

Much more to come this week where I'll be in DC on Tuesday for Al Jazeera's Stream show then onto Brussels for a keynote at ICOMP on Wednesday evening and at the Personal Democracy Forum on Thursday.

 

 

--

Digital Vertigo - The World Tour

Digital Vertigo is out on Tuesday and I'm going to be insanely busy in the next month with speeches. Below is my itinerary from now to the third week of June. Please email me (a.keen@me.com) if you want more details on any of the events  - particularly my Bay Area launch party on June 4 at Reputation.com which should be really fun. May 21: New York City: Techcrunch Disrupt - Conversation with TC Editor, Alexia Tsotsis May 21: New York City: Judith & Jess' Takeout book launch dinner (invitation only) May 22: NYC, Techcrunch Disrupt, Book Signing (12.30-2.00pm) May 23: Google Big Tent in Hertfordshire, UK: Debate with author Nick Harkaway May 24: London: Conversation with Kernel magazine editor Milo Yiannopoulos May 30: Brussels, Belgium: ICOMP panel about privacy (evening) May 31: Brussels, Belgium: Speech about identity at Personal Democracy Forum Brussels June 3: Berkeley CA: Hillside Club conversation with filmmaker Tiffany Shlain (4-6.00 pm) June 4: Redwood City CA: With Reputation.com CEO Michael Fertik (5.00-7.00pm) June 5: San Francisco: Debate with John Perry Barlow at Economist Information 2012 June 6: Napa, CA: Panel about privacy at Tech Policy Summit June 12: New York City: Keynote about big data at Audience Measurement 7.0 June 13: Parsippany, NJ: Seminar at CW Post Co about Rethinking the Web (invite only) June 15: Lisbon, Portugal: Speech about disconnecting the dots, Switch Conference June 18: London: London School of Economics, LSE Media Group, Keynote June 19: Amsterdam: Recorded Future, Keynote speech about big data (afternoon) June 20: London: Le Web, debate about online addiction/privacy with Robert Scoble June 20: London: Canvas8 keynote about Digital Vertigo (tickets here) (6.30pm) June 21: London: Omnicom, Juice Session (internal) about the value of social media June 21: Dublin: Dublin Web Summit sponsored evening about social media June 22: Bristol, UK: speech about Digital Vertigo Bristol Festival of Ideas (6.00-7.00pm) June 23: Trieste, Italy: keynote at State of the Net conference (afternoon)

Anders Behring Breivik

I'm slightly bemused by the storm that my CNN opinion piece on the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has elicited. Some of the reaction on Twitter is unprintable, but there has been some fair criticism, including this interesting blog post arguing that World of Warcraft isn't a violent game and that there's no connection at all between Brievik's affection for online gaming and his massacre of 77 innocent Norwegians last July. Today's revelations at Olso's central court strengthen my argument about the nexus between his violence and video games. Breivik acknowledged in court that he "trained" for the attacks using the "holographic aiming device" on the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. He said:

"It consists of many hundreds of different tasks and some of these tasks can be compared with an attack, for real. That's why it's used by many armies throughout the world. It's very good for acquiring experience related to sights systems.... If you are familiar with a holographic sight, it's built up in such a way that you could have given it to your grandmother and she would have been a super marksman. It's designed to be used by anyone. In reality it requires very little training to use it in an optimal way. But of course it does help if you've practised using a simulator."

 

I'm not arguing that video games like Call of Duty causes psychopaths like Breivik to commit mass murder. But only the most myopic apologist for electronic gaming  could deny that these kind of violent games do play a role in the fantasies of lunatics like Breivik.

 

On Google

My CNN column last week focused on Google and its struggle for relevance in the Web 3.0 world of Facebook "likes". I'm certainly not alone, of course, in predicting the long term crisis for Google. But even the last week, since my CNN piece appeared, there's more and more evidence to support the argument that Google is increasingly vulnerable to the structural shifts in the digital economy. Firstly, Google is becoming increasingly embroiled in the courts. Today, for example, a Federal appeals court revived Rosetta Stone's trademark infringement lawsuit against Google. Then, of course, there's the upcoming EU anti-trust decision which, even if it reaches some sort of settlement, will likely weaken Google's hitherto semi-monopolistic control of the European search market.

Most of all, though, Google is behaving increasingly oddly. With the self-styled "grown-up", Eric Schmidt, no longer in charge, the inmates are once again running the asylum over at the Googleplex. Take, for example, Sergei Brin's peculiarly paranoid rant yesterday about Internet openness - an argument suggesting what is good for Google = good for web freedom. And then, of course, there is last week's Google stock split which, as the Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin notes, solidified "the founders’ control of the company by diminishing the future voting power of the shareholders".

The issue isn't really whether Google will be more or less evil in the future. It's whether the dominant player in the Web 2.0 world will remain relevant in today's social and mobile Web 3.0 world. With the kids back in charge, I'm not optimistic that Google can successfully reinvent itself.

 

Against Factuality

So, The New York Times tells us this morning, a start-up is gathering the facts - "all of them". This start-up is Gilad Elbaz's Factual which apparently wants to "collect every fact in the world." Elbaz is a fact ideologue. After his Israeli father told the young Elbaz about the Palestinian-Israeli conlict, the boy apparently replied "that the hatred would end if the two sides could just agree on the facts."

Agree on the facts? That's what history (public and private) is - a disagreement on the facts. If we were all agreements, then there would be no history, no complexity, no meaningful debate.

Elbaz is relentless about collecting facts. "Lately I've been thinking that we need to get more data," he tells The Times. Apparently he wants us all to reveal all our genetic information, what we ate, when and when we exercised.

"I want to figure out a way to get people to leave their data to science," Elbaz says.

But the problem with leaving our data to science is that we will reduce ourselves to data points. So I certainly won't be leaving my data to science. And nor should you if, like me, you want to preserve your legacy.