On the first day at SxSW in Austin Texas, there are swarms of coffee-fueled digital punters, battling long registration queues and trying to decide between a long program of competing speakers and panels.
The keynote address delivered by Don Tapscott "Rethinking Civilisation for the Social Age" was inspiring and dealt with a range of social themes around networked intelligence and finished with an awesome video of 'a murmur of starlings' - his grand metaphor for collective action.
The image below captures the themes - there are some talented graphic artists taking notes in a visual way:
Amber's keynote on Ambient Location and the Future of the Interface was a highlight of this year's SxSW.
Her area of expertise is Cyborg Anthropology, the study of man-made extensions of our physical and mental selves.
Her talk described her future vision of how technology would recede into a 'calm' background where we wouldn't really be aware of it.
Rather than physical or visible interfaces to technology, increasingly our actions and our location will act as triggers for technology through geo-mapping and geo-fencing we'll have access to opt-in data, notifications and prompts. Already the potential of these new technologies are being experienced through gaming. One example of this can be found at mapattack.org.
An emerging theme of SxSW is location based services. With the celebration of FourSquare's launch at SxSW three years ago, and the buyout of Gowalla by Facebook this week, location based social media and marketing is becoming a valuable channel for both users and brands.
The applications and relevance of location based technologies is not limited to social media or retail or gaming but has potentially far greater applications in all aspects of life but it does rely on access to the technology in the form of smart phones and other mobile devices. Amber's prediction is that these devices will become increasingly invisible and pervasive.