by Andrew Keen, Special to CNN
I know where to find the future. It will show up, I predict, on Tuesday at London’s Westminster Central Hall. Don’t blink. It will arrive in the shape of Le Web, Europe’s illustrious two-day Internet conference which, this year, is focusing on next-generation digital products that are “faster than realtime.”
Faster than realtime?
“It’s when the server brings you a beer before you ask for it because she already knows what you drink!”
That’s at least what “faster than realtime” means to Robert Scoble, Silicon Valley’s most ubiquitous observer of the digital future who, inevitably enough, will be speaking at Le Web.
In Scoble’s future, the computer “server” and the “server” in the bar will be indistinguishable. And they will both know what you want to drink before you know it yourself.
Loic Le Meur, the Silicon Valley based Franco-American impresario who founded Le Web and is the architect of the “faster than realtime” theme of tomorrow’s conference, shares Scoble’s faith in the internet’s uncannily predictive power.
Le Web will even feature a speech from McKinsey partner Eric Hazan on how “faster than realtime” is shifting the behavior of consumption across the internet.
This is a business as well as a consumer revolution. Another of the Le Web speakers will be Nick Halstead, the founder of Datasift, a platform that enables companies to interpret massive amounts of data through social media networks like Twitter and Facebook.
But not every speaker at Le Web shares Le Meur’s uncompromising optimism. I will be personally debating Scoble on Wednesday about the existential value of radical transparency in a digital society in which we know everything about everyone. And Milo Yiannopoulos, the founder and editor-in-chief of The Kernel Magazine and another Le Web speaker, shares my concerns about an online world in which complex data algorithms manage our lives for us. Read the CNN report