Hardware, Software & the Internet of Things
June 23–25, 2015 • San Francisco, CA

Primordial - when things wake up

Mickey McManus (Autodesk)
11:35am–11:45am Wednesday, 06/24/2015
Keynote, Sponsored
Location: Herbst Pavilion
Average rating: ****.
(4.03, 37 ratings)

We are fast approaching an era of unprecedented complexity as more and more things, environments, and systems become interconnected. Often called the “Internet of Things,” this trend is leading toward a world with trillions of devices, communicating with each other and with us.

Speaker Mickey McManus co-authored one of the essential field guides to the era of pervasive computing and the Internet of Things in his book, Trillions. But pervasive computing isn’t the only game-changing trend on the horizon. It is on a collision course with two complementary trends—digital manufacturing (when 3D printing merges with new materials and makes dumb things smart), and machine learning (when things react and change in response to their environment). Taken together, we are looking at a new phenomenon: networked matter.

While these three technological trends are inevitable, the way we design for things, when they begin to wake up, is uncharted territory. If we design for dead things, for disconnected things, we will design our way into irrelevance. The challenge we face is how we surf these trends, what we do about them and how the act of designing “things” will change. Those of us that figure it out sooner rather than later will have an unfair advantage, plain and simple. While others will be reactionary and surprised at each turn of the screw, Mickey and his team hope some of us can not only survive the riptide, but also harness its power for good. Join Mickey in a discussion about Primordial, ecological design, and the nature of things.

This keynote is sponsored by Autodesk

Photo of Mickey McManus

Mickey McManus


Mickey McManus is a research fellow at Autodesk in the Office of the CTO and a principal and chairman of the board at MAYA Design, a technology design and innovation lab. In 2012, he coauthored the book Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology (Wiley) — a field guide to the future, when computing will be freely accessible in the ambient environment. Trillions was awarded the Axiom Gold Award in 2013 for best business book about technology and the 2013 Carnegie Science Award in the Science Communicator category. Mickey speaks frequently about pervasive computing, design, and business innovation. He has lectured at Carnegie Mellon University, Illinois Institute of Technology, LUMA Institute, MIT, Princeton, University of Illinois, UC Berkeley, and UCLA. Mickey holds nine patents in the area of connected products, vehicles, and services. His work has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, and the Harvard Business Review.