[Dave Birch] Well this is rather exciting. The writer Bruce Sterling had a tremendous influence on me: his anthology Mirrorshades was one of those books that makes you think about things in a different way. It was one of the key texts in the history of cyberpunk fiction that has ended up shaping some of our collective thinking about the relationship between technology and society. This is why I was so excited to discover that I will be sharing a platform with Bruce Sterling at LIFT 08 in South Korea later this year. We will be speaking in a session on virtual money, where I imagine he will have far more interesting things to say about it than I will.

Art and science need each other, of course. But there are some time when the advances in technology are so rapid, and of such magnitude, that technologists like myself need artists desperately. The way that Bruce and other authors helped us to understand the early days of the Net was immediately reflected back into our work, and I remember how effective their stories, descriptions and metaphors were (I can never picture security software as anything other than black ice!). Indeed, I wrote before that

as a technologist I’ve always been aware that it sometimes takes an artist to bring the real insight and understanding. The canonical example in our space has to be William Gibson’s Neuromancer.

[From Digital Money Forum: All work and no play makes Jack a dull lad]

Bruce collaborated with William on the novel The Difference Engine, a book that defines “Steampunk” to me as accurately as Neuromancer defines “Cyberpunk“. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to hearing Bruce’s insights and perspectives because I am absolutely certain that they will help me to develop new ideas for clients. We have the technology…

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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