The Calm Technology Video from Thinking Digital Manchester is Up!

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to keynote Thinking Digital’s Conference in Manchester, England! The conference organizers kindly took a video of the talk, and it is now live!

Thanks so much to Sophie Buckle of hedgehog lab for a great blog post about Calm Technology at the conference!

Want more? Check out the rest of the conference videos!

Thanks to everyone who attended, spoke at, and organized this conference! It was a great experience!

Two Talks at Qcon San Francisco: Virtual Reality and Calm Technology!

qcon-san-francisco-virtual-reality-amber-caseI’m excited to give the Keynote speech at QCon San Francisco (2016 Conference: Nov 7-9 Workshops: Nov 10-11) this coming week! I’ll be speaking on Monday, November 7th at 9am. This will be both and old and new talk.

What’s new? I’ll be extending an early talk I did on the history of wearable computing by adding an entirely new section on Virtual Reality! I’ve been holed up in Portland’s N Portland VR Lab taking video of all of everything VR, from rumblepacks and in-room sensors to games that shrink and grow depending on how much space you have for them!

Keynote: The History and Future of Wearable Computing and Virtual Experience

Location: Grand Ballroom ABC
Day of week: Monday, Nov 7, 2016.
Duration: 9:00am – 10:10am


Miniature electronics and and global supply chains have us on the cusp of a new era of human experience. Early forms of wearable computing focused on augmenting the human ability to compute freely. As pioneer Steve Mann and calm technology pioneer Mark Weiser wanted, “to free the human to not act as a machine”. What does this mean for us as designers and developers, and how can we build interfaces for the next generation of devices?

Who was here before us, and how can we best learn from them? These are the machines that will be a part of our lives in only a few years from now, and the best way to learn about the future is to dig into the past. This talk will focus on trends in wearable computing and VR as it developed from the 1960s to now, and then into the future. This talk will cover various topics on the history and future of wearables. We’ll learn about Ivan Sutherland, human augmentation, infrastructure, machine vision, processing, distributed computing and wireless data transfer, a church dedicated to VR, computer backpacks, heads up displays, reality editing, job simulators and unexplored realms of experience that haven’t yet come to life. We’ll also learn about the road from virtual reality to augmented reality and what we need to build to get there. This talk is for anyone interested in how we can add a new layer of interactivity to our world and how we can take the next steps to get there.

I’ll be giving an additional talk in addition to my keynote! Details below:

Second Talk: Designing Calm Technology

Track: UX Reimagined
Location: Seacliff ABC
Day of week: Wednesday, November 9th, 2016.
Duration: 1:40pm – 2:30pm


Our world is made of information that competes for our attention. What is needed? What is not? We cannot interact with our everyday life in the same way we interact with a desktop computer. The terms calm computing and calm technology were coined in 1995 by PARC Researchers Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown in reaction to the increasing complexities that information technologies were creating. Calm technology describes a state of technological maturity where a user’s primary task is not computing, but being human. The idea behind Calm Technology is to have smarter people, not things. Technology shouldn’t require all of our attention, just some of it, and only when necessary.

How can our devices take advantage of location, proximity and haptics to help improve our lives instead of get in the way? How can designers can make apps “ambient” while respecting privacy and security? This talk will cover how to use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices. We’ll look at notification styles, compressing information into other senses, and designing for the least amount of cognitive overhead.

I’m Joining MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media!

I’m very excited to announce that I am joining The Center for Civic Media at MIT Media Lab this month! I’ll be working on a number of civic initiatives, including teaching people basic HTML and how to code a static website through The Web 1.0 Conference. I also hope to bring CyborgCamp to MIT Media Lab once more! I’m most excited to help with existing and future initiatives by members in the group.

About Civic Media

civic-media-logo-mit-media-lab The MIT Center for Civic Media works hand in hand with diverse communities to collaboratively create, design, deploy, and assess civic media tools and practices.

The group is a partnership between the MIT Media Lab and Comparative Media Studies at MIT. Together, they work to understand new ecosystems and to build tools and systems that help communities collect, share and act on information. Civic Media focuses on tools that can help amplify the voices of communities often excluded from the digital public sphere and connect them with new audiences, as well as on systems that help foster digital inclusion. You can read more at Civic Media’s home page.

The group is run by the fantastic and fascinating Ethan Zuckerman, who has been a tremendous inspiration and positive force behind a lot of my recent thoughts.

About the Media Lab

mit-media-lab Known around the world as a center for cutting-edge research, the Media Lab develops new technologies that will, sooner rather than later, be a part of our daily lives. A place where the future is lived, not imagined, the Lab blurs traditional boundaries between disciplines, designing technologies that empower people to express themselves and understand the world in new ways.

Lab researchers are dedicated to inventing a better future, creating machines and technologies that not only augment human capabilities, but also relate to people on more “human” terms. You can read more at

What’s next?

mit-media-lab-logo I’m looking forward to doing much more in the Civic Media group in the year ahead, especially along the lines of the Web 1.0 Conference, a gathering that celebrates long lasting static websites and the ability to create them.

Thank you to everyone at Civic Media, especially Ethan, for their encouragement for joining this program. And thanks most of all to Willow Brugh, the person that encouraged me to apply to Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center and introduced me to Ethan Zuckerman two years ago when we brought CyborgCamp to MIT!

Join me at the Future of Money and Digital Ethics at Sibos in Geneva, Switzerland on Sept 26 and 28, 2016!

logo-sibos-amber-case-future-of-moneyOn Monday, September 26th and Wednesday, September 28th, 2016  I’ll be speaking on the Future of Money and Digital Ethics on two panels at the Sibos International Banking Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.


Future of Money

Monday 26 September
14:00 – 15:00
Plenary – PLR

Digital Ethics

Wednesday 28 September
10:30 – 11:15
Innotribe – INNO

Future of Money Overview

Delegates will hear Amber Case, Cyborg Anthropologist and Harvard Berkman Klein Center Fellow, speak on security, calm technology and intrusive media. Case says: “I want to talk about the idea that you should own your information first, and a third party should only be able to access that information for a temporary period in order to get something done. The idea user experience would be one where you can you can see what’s happening to your data, and authorise transactions at each point of exchange.”

Case, author of the book Calm Technology (O’Reilly Media), will also discuss a number of principles for managing the devices and the data that comprise the Internet of Things. “We live in an age of intrusive media. Technology should be there when you need it, and not when you don’t,” says Case. If we are all cyborgs now, as Case suggests (in the sense that we use technology to enhance, extend and add to our innate abilities), the challenge for the future will be to achieve a harmonious relationship with our technology. “Technology should enhance the human experience, not detract from it. Our devices should amplify the best of humanity and the best of technology. Artificial Intelligence can help automate our systems, but customer service is still essential,” says Case. That’s something humans can never automate. “It wouldn’t be wise for human connection to be replaced by machines,” Case concludes.

The Future of Money session at Sibos has become the “crystal ball” identifying major disruptive trends that are likely to affect the financial services industry in coming years.

In previous years, this session covered topics such as the latest developments on virtual currencies and blockchain, the disaggregation and unbundling of the financial services value chain, and automated credit. But what’s the next big disruptive force?

We believe the new buzzword is the interconnectedness of everything at scale and speed. In this Internet of Everything, every thing talks to every thing and end-points make their own decisions, powered by sensor-driven data collection, machine learning and automated decision making.

It is not the sharing economy as we know it, but a data sharing economy where driverless cars make toll road payments per minute, washing machines decide the right energy vendor at what time and price, where products are created ad-hoc and in situ by 3D printers (with IP royalties paid in real time), where investment decisions are made by a new breed of robo-advisors in real time.

Everything happens at scale and speed. This real-time economy will require a fundamental new infrastructure with more dramatic intermediation than what we see today in payments and securities, with frictionless micro-commerce and micro-payment transactions enabling real transparency of money and value in general.

We will need to rethink the notion of ownership and the definition and management of intellectual property, financial assets, digital assets, rights management and royalties in fully distributed peer-to-peer world. And how do we regulate a world where all the rules have changed?

We move from enabling transactions to enabling commerce, from transaction networks to new articulations of value- and trust-webs.

This session will bring together some of the sharpest thought leaders on this radical transformation of our industry, and will focus on the inter-connectedness of everything.

Two moderators will guide the audience through this exercise and ensure a deep interaction with the speakers in an exciting interactive format.

Since Sibos Toronto in 2011, the Innotribe “Future of Money” is standing room only. For the first year, the session moved to the plenary room as a big issue debate, so make sure you’re there early!


  • Udayan Goyal, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Apis Partners and Anthemis Group
  • Jon Stein, CEO & Founder, Betterment
  • Carlos J. Menendez, President, Enterprise Partnerships, Mastercard
  • Amber Case, Fellow, Harvard Berkman Klein Center

Digital Ethics Overview

Billions of dollars are spent every year to track our actions, intentions, and sentiments online and via the sensors embedded in the world that surrounds us. Machine-learning algorithms may soon get to know us better than we know ourselves. While robots gaining consciousness is a growing concern, the future of human happiness is dependent on teaching machines what we value the most today.

As AI features in different products, wearable devices, and self-driving cars, we need to think in a critical way about where this will bring us – on an individual and societal level. Will it help us forward? Will it create more time for ourselves? Or will it make our world more complex and less efficient?

Coexisting safely and ethically with intelligent machines is one of the central challenges of the 21st Century. It demonstrates and strengthen the need to establish ethical standards for Artificial Intelligence to help us preserve the values we cherish the most.

This session is an integral part of the future show live. See the session description for detailed information.


  • Gerd Leonhard, Futurist, Keynote Speaker, Author and CEO of The Futures Agency, The Futures Agency
  • John Havens, Executive Director, The Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems
  • Amber Case, Fellow, Harvard Berkman Klein Center
  • Aurélie Pols, Data Governance & Privacy Advocate, Krux Digital / Ethics Data Group EDPS (European Data Protection Supervisor)

What is Sibos?

Sibos is the world’s premier financial services event.

Sibos is the annual conference, exhibition and networking event organised by SWIFT for the financial industry.

What started out as a banking operations seminar in 1978, has grown into the premier business forum for the global financial community to debate and collaborate in the areas of payments, securities, cash management and trade. More at

August 23rd, 2016: Calm Technology Reading at UX Book Club PDX!

calm-technology-amber-case-oreilly-amazon I’m speaking at Portland, Oregon’s UX Book Club on Calm Tech on Tuesday, August 23rd at Puppet Labs!

This will be my last talk before I leave for Harvard!

If you don’t have a book yet, you can pick one up on Amazon ($19.70) or through O’Reilly books ($24.99). I’ll also have a few early release copies to sign and sell.

There’s still room at Puppet Labs for the talk! RSVP here