Robert L. Martin Creative Consulting, New Media Design, Photography, and Printing

Robert L. Martin
Aspen Ideas Festival

What a great first day! The Aspen Institute asked the Isaacson School to bring students in to help man some information stations provided by Microsoft. At first, things were fairly chaotic as the festival was starting up, and parts were still arriving on campus. We found the first kiosk and the students helped to set it up in Paepke, and then we had to wait. I took the students on a tour of the campus, which was filling up with people getting ready to attend the festival.

While waiting I explored the campus, I found a cardboard robot that interviews people, so of course I signed up. At first it felt a bit silly to be discussing the big ideas of the future with a cardboard robot with a childs voice, but then I thought about the machine/body interface and how that can get broken down. The principle of the “Uncanny Valley” postulates that humans and machines actually work better when the machine doesn’t look like a human, and this certainly didn’t, but the childs voice was certainly uncanny, throwing me off my balance the first few questions. It was almost like I hadn’t thought of robots as entities before. My favorite question was “Do you think you could ever consider a robot a friend?” I certainly hope so, the day seems to be coming soon when we will be surrounded by them.

Then we got the call, the Microsoft people had arrived, we were rushed to the Koch building in golf carts, and the excitement began. Imagine our excitement when the great people from Microsoft pulled Surface 3′s from their bags, they were just released 3 days ago! It sounds silly, but getting to work with workstation powered tablets is exciting to digital storytellers. The students got sucked in to working with the new app in front of them.

We gathered the students back together to assemble the rest of the kiosks, and the day was nearly over, but the ideas about how to use the tablets had just begun. Tomorrow we will staff the kiosks, but we also got 2 additional tablets for students to roam and use to produce nearly live digital journalism. We are all thinking about who we might be able to interview, what we can do with video, audio, photos, and graphics. We may even try to install the Creative Cloud onto them, and really get into production.

Day 1 of Ideas Festival brought ideas, albeit not the ones we expected, and for Digital New Media specialists, the unexpected is where we want to be.

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