The Future of Text Symposium


This year we are proud to feature Howard Rheingold author and teacher, John Markoff senior writer for The New York Times, Ted Nelson inventor of Hypertext,  Sam Hahn VP eGain Corporation & collaborologist, Bruce Horn from Intel and coder of the first Mac Finder, Bob Horn a pioneer in the exploration and use of visual language (the tight integration of text and visual elements), of Stanford University, Joy Mountford of Akamai Technologies, Seonok Lee, Associate Specialist at UCSF,  Francesc Hervada-Sala independent text researcher, Bob Stein of Voyager, the first multimedia books, Jane Yellowlees Douglas of the University of Florida, Bob Belford, Daniel Berleant & Michael Bauer of  the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Adriano Ferrari developer of the Gingko App,  Barry Kayton of Cognition, Pavel  Luksha of SKOLKOVO, Moscow School of Management, Kennan Salinero of ReImagine Science, Stan Gould of the Knowledge Communities Federation, Adam Cheyer inventor of SIRI, Timour Shchoukine co-founder of GlobalNeuroWeb, Robert Scoble of Backspace, Jack Park, Silicon Valley researcher and innovator, G. Pascal Zachary journalist, author and teacher of  Arizona State University, Jeff Conklin of CogNexus, Pete Forsyth of Wiki Strategies and Frode Hegland, teacher and developer.



Join us on the 9th & 10th of December 2015 in Silicon Valley!


Archives : 2014 2013 2012 2011



A few words from previous years’ panellist:


Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet: “I have participated in the Future of Text events and find them thought-provoking and poignant reminders that text is how we communicate with the future.”


Tom Standage, Deputy Editor of The Economist: “At a time of rapid technological change, the Future of Text Symposium offers an invaluable high-level perspective on the original information technology, where it has come from, and where it is going.”


Timothy Donaldson, typographer and teacher: “The future of text is one of the most stimulating public disseminations of knowledge I have encountered, its pithy format and emphasis on discourse makes it an intellectual delight.”


Philip Ball, science writer: “The notion of what text is becoming and what it might become is of vital importance to the future of an information society, with implications ranging from questions of artistic expression to the meanings of democracy. Yet it's remarkable and perhaps disturbing that so few people are examining the issues in a broad, multidisciplinary way. The Future of Text Symposium is an event which fills that gap in a manner both deep and rigorous, but also engaging.”


David Jablonowski, artist:“In the fine arts one talks with all respect about the 'Avantgarde' in the arts. This symposium is about the 'Avantgarde' of the entire human communication -no less than that. In about 10 years people will realise what they've missed”


Ilona Regulski, Curator Egyptian Written Culture at The British Museum: “As an academic and museum professional studying the past, I usually perceive texts in a historical context. The approach to look at the future of text is innovative though necessary, and thereby refreshingly informative. The Future of Text Symposium is an inspiring event. The sheer variety of fields represented emphasise that the visible aspect of language; through text, is our most important means of communication and deserves more attention.”


Jane Yellowlees Douglas, PhD, Associate Professor of the University of Florida: “'The Future of Text' should be called ‘How to Live in the New Now,’ since you’d be hard-pressed to find a wider range of expertise on how text morphed into the words that wrap around and inform our lives. In addition, you’ll learn how to live with and capitalise on the changing face and uses of text through dialogue with some of today’s top experts. If you don’t emerge with a different view of how to work with text, take your pulse: you might be dead.”


Bob Stein of Voyager Books, publisher of the original interactive books: “The Future of Text 2013 symposium in London was a brilliantly curated and organised event. The day's videos could be the syllabus for a terrific course about the future of reading and writing.”


Chris Stringer, Author, from the Natural History Museum in London: “I thought the Future of Text symposia  in London were really stimulating events, where a diverse group of specialists engaged in free-ranging discussion between themselves but also in open dialogue with their audience.”


Dame Wendy Hall of the University of Southampton: “The innovation of interactive text is essential and the Future of Text Symposium is a vital part of this process.”


George Landow, Professor of English and Art History Emeritus, Brown University: “This was a delightful, informative well-run mini-conference with a particularly attractive and efficient format that investigated the past, present, and future of text.”


Ren Cahoon, founder and president of Reynolds Cahoon LLC: “It was an extraordinary event.”


Dino Karabeg of the University of Oslo: “Having been a presenter at the 2014 Future of Text Symposium at Google, London, I am glad to recommend in strongest terms this year's Future of Text Symposium in the Bay Area. By organizing the Future of Text events, Frode Hegland is continuing, and broadening and deepening, the tradition initiated by Doug Engelbart, his late friend and patron. By bringing together speakers who have deep academic insights into the origins, history, nature… of textual communication, with software tool developers, Frode wants to make sure that the future of text keeps up with contemporary insights and needs, and with technological developments. Hand-picked international speakers help reach his goal, and make this event uniquely valuable.”


Philip Ball, best-selling science author: “A fantastic opportunity to hear lots of thought-provoking ideas and discussions on this vital and under-explored issue. From hieroglyphics to hyperlinks in a single day - it was a treat.”


The Future of Text Symposium is a Deep Literacy Initiative