A breathless email from Tony Perkins invites me to Stanford to watch lions eat Christians. Or so it sounds. Tony writes that his conference, Always On, is about â€œthe sweet spots in the technology marketsâ€¦where innovation is disrupting behavior and creating new business opportunitiesâ€. His website concludes, â€œcome play in our spontaneous and uncensored arenaâ€. The text does not specify whose behaviour is being disrupted, and whether we will all experience it as â€œsweetâ€ when it happens. But something tells me the investors who dominate the AO roster donâ€™t expect their own lives to be disrupted. For a moment I thought Chai Ling, former student leader at Tiananmen Square, was there to speak up for the forcibly disrupted masses; but it turns out she went on to do an MBA at Harvard and now runs a software company. Old-paradigm events like Always On don’t matter if you regard disruptive innovation as inevitable, and therefore morally neutral. But if innovation – which used to be called modernisation – can make things worse, as well as better – should not innovators, and the guys who bankroll them, take responsibility for the consequences of their actions? Maybe I should stand outside the hall with a placard saying “Repent!”.
John Thackara2005-07-08T07:22:18+00:00July 8th, 2005|development|
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