I like visiting Australia, so thank you for inviting me. It's a land of origin myths. There are two, aren't there.
There's the ancient origin myths held by the Indigenous Australian peoples, the catalog of myths which is also a map of the landscape, ancient memories and explanations. I was reading that the mythic origins of three lakes in the Atherton Tableland refer back to volcanic eruptions some 10,000 years ago -- confirmed by pollen fossils found in the silt. Myths have long memories, hey!
And there's the modern one that kids learn at school -- the Dutch and other Europeans, the mapping of the east by Cook, and the First Fleet of some thousand or so settlers and prisoners in 1788. Then the explorers and pioneers of the frontier... not just of the land, but of the social world. Australia was the first to introduce the secret ballot to elect representatives, and - in 1897 - the home of the first legislature in our Westphalian world to permit women to stand for election to political office. Well done Australia! Good origins.
Out of these two comes a hybrid culture -- and to me, what I see is a unique egalitarianism. An insistence on - not so much equality - as equal footing. No inherited privilege. No deference or expectation of deference. I absolutely love it. So that's a big part of why I like to visit.
And I said a little bit already about we're just going to follow the connections this morning, and see where associations take us.
What I'm hunting for... well you can see I'm curious about artificial intelligences. In particular, I think we're entering an era of slightly smart things... or at least we're entering the era of the Internet of Things. And I'm curious, what happens when the world is all connected? It's going to be super complex. How do we relate to that complexity without it overwhelming us? How do we speak to something smart that's not human?
Matt Webb, Web Directions South 2014 (Sydney, Australia), October 2014