Dispatches from ASIS&T – Keynote Address

The ASIS&T Annual Meeting opened with a great talk from Jose Garcia, a B.I. and data management specialist at TEC (Technology Evaluation Centers) in Montreal.

He discussed the stages of technology creation and adoption:

  • Abstraction: creating an abstract model for the transmittion of information, including innovations like cloud computing that model personal information storage on a large scale
  • Augmentation: finding ways to use information as an enhancement of our natural capabilities. Event driven design and reactive systems were mentioned as great examples of augmentation; check out http://spacetimeinsight.com/peek for a cool demo.
  • Assimilation: creating interfaces that let us assimilate information without really noticing that we are using technology. He suggested that technologies like the Kinect and Leap Motion point toward the future of interface design, in that we will increasingly be able to interact directly with information interfaces.

Although most of his talk focused on innovation and change, Garcia also cautioned that we need to make sure that our information ethics are robust enough to deal with progress. He suggested four core principles for an information science ethical code:

  • Clarity of practices
  • Simplicity of settings
  • Privacy by design
  • Exchange of value

These kinds of guiding principles tend to get lost in times of rapid change; he called upon iSchools everywhere to ensure that their students are carrying good ethical practices into industry as they graduate.