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[ba-ohs-talk] Signal from Singapore, day3, Wednesday and Day 4 Thursday April 25


Bill = Bill Zoellick, see www.fastwater.com - he is working with Doug and I on case studies involving Singapore.

I sent an earlier update to the Unrev list. Henry van Eyken has kindly been posting the updates at Fleabyte. See there for day 1 and 2.

Here's a day by day from Singapore. Day 1 was April 22.

Day 3 The opening day of the World Library Summit. Doug delivered the opening keynote in the morning on the topic of Knowledge Augmentation for the 21st Century to an audience of almost 1000 delegates, speakers and dignitaries. Following the speech, during the break the Minister of Information, Technology and the Arts David Lim said to Doug that it was a heroic effort to cover an enormous amount of deep material greatly relevant to the audience in 45 minutes. Bill and Mei Lin in subsequent conversations with attendees, observed that it appeared to be very well received by the audience of library representatives, primarily from SE Asian libraries, with a sprinkling of North American and European attendees. It was a funny thing, but because Doug was talking as a technology visionary to a primarily librarian audience, his talk seemed to be taken as a message from the mainstream of technology and they, the audience were hugely appreciative of what they perceived as the movement back to human-centric computing. I think we've gained a lot: In the best case, many of the librarians are going to go back to their libraries and be much more purposeful about their defining their role in relation to technology and will undoubtedly cite Doug as giving them their awakening call. Great stuff. 
 Abstract of Doug's talk: The rate of technology innovation threatens to tear our social fabric. Dr. Douglas Engelbart esxamines the new developments that strain the ability of goverments, libraries and other social institutions to bridge the digital divide. The key Dr. Engelbart offers to re-establish the balnce is facilitated evolution of complex organisations' ability to share and use knowledge. Not just an abstact concept, DDr. Engelbart describes a rich human-centreic evolutionary framework, which harnesses innovative use of new technology to augmnet human capability. Dr. Engelbart outlines the "Bootstrapping" methodology and proposes a role for world library organizations as leaders in knolwedge augmentaiton for the 21st century.
 We had lunch hosted by Dr. Tan Chin Nam, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Information, Technology and the Arts at the best Indian restaurant in Singapore. Mei Lin had to dash off before dessert to chair Plenary II National Knowledge Agenda's. In opening the Plenary, she observed " It is a measure of the civilization of a society the things they being to hold sacred. ..... I have lived in the US for over twenty years, but I am from Singapore. It gives me enormous pride to see Singapore host a World Library Summit and develop a Plenary on the topic of National Knowledge Agenda." Speakers representing Australia, Germany and the UK spoke about the state of the art in their countries. That evening, the WLS gala dinner was held. The evening opened with an impressive volley of intense drumming by about  a dozen gentleman in traaditional Malay costume. It sounded very much like the Japanese Taiko drumming but at a constantly faster paste. We were served an 8 course Chinese Banquet style dinner of food from the Malay Muslim cuisine. Many librarians wore their national dress from Thailand, the Phillipines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia, Burma, Cambodia and Laos. It was a colorful evening in which we were entertained by a string quintet over dinner, which struck me as very "library-like" in nature. The attending Minister was Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, who sat next to Charles Goldfarb, also here as a keynote speaker, who was next to Bill. Doug excused himself to prepare for the long day he was to have on Day 4. Bill was struck by the multi-faceted nature of Dr. Balakrishnan who is in charge of public works and buildings in Singapore. He is also an eye surgeon who practices one day a week. He still does his job as Dean of the Medical School at the National University of Singapore, and not content with this, he had a conversation with Charles Goldbarb on ebXML and XML, which Charles felt reflected an extraordinarily high level of understanding. Bill and Charles were humbled by the experience. It didn't help that he was also extraordinarily handsome noted Mei Lin with a grin!Day 4Off we went to Nanyang Technology University, at the western end of the island, where Doug delivered the lecture at the Information Management Research Center to a very interested audience of faculty members. It struck a chord with any of them and they observed that Doug's framework provided a great integration of their many point areas of research. They are interested in further collaboration with Bootstrap. We will be meeting up again on Saturday before Doug and Bill leave for the US, to see what we might do specifically together. Then it was back to the city center for Doug to deliver the inaugural IDA Distinguished Speaker Lecture to an audience of IT and telecom senior management. The topic was a Framework for Innovation. They kept asking Doug, what does it take to be innovative. The answer which finally struck home was "A willingness to be embarrassed".  He told them about the series of rejections and setbacks he'd had, and how he continued on despite. Eventually when years after his intuition was validated, he continued to be rideculed for the next series of ideas. It is hard to be ahead of your time.The picture he left was one of great personal courage and conviction. People were awed and moved by his humility. That evening, he was interviewed by two television channels, CNBC Asia and Channel News Asia. They asked about the mouse. One asked how he rated the odds of convincing people about the path he was advocating. He said that he felt so strongly that this is something he had to do, that it was worth advocating, even if it only saved human kind 1 month or 1 year in getting to harness technology, because the increase in capabilities possible by what he was talking about was a 2-5  fold increase, and would make a real difference to humanity. So he doesn't think about the odds. He must do what he must do.After such a day, how else could we end it than by walking over to the Raffles Hotel and drinking Singapore Slings and having a perfect dinner under the moon in the Raffles courtyard with live Brazilian music playing?