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Digital Summit: Being Human in the Future

Intel’s chief anthropologist frames the MIT Technology Review Digital Summit by talking about the values that change, and those that don’t, as technology progresses.

Even as the Internet of things, new interfaces, online health services, and other technological trends develop remarkably quickly, technology companies often forget that the users of these services change relatively slowly. With that observation, Genevieve Bell, the anthropologist who leads user-experience research at Intel, opened the MIT Technology Review Digital Summit today in San Francisco.

Bell told editor in chief Jason Pontin that a better appreciation of fundamental human desires–we all want to be part of a community that shares our values, for instance, and “we like to keep secrets and tell lies”–would make technologists less breathless and more honest about the potential for “smart cities,” connected cars, and other ideas that will be aired at the summit.

Here’s hoping that Bell’s way of framing technological change remains in the air throughout the summit today and tomorrow. My colleagues and I will be posting updates.

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