I recently had the pleasure of attending the latest WIRED + Marriott Culturazzi series event in San Francisco. The creators of this series have a goal of artistically and intellectually inspiring #Culturazzi guests as its theme.
Inspiring the Wired Generation
The brilliant and charming WIRED magazine Editor-In-Chief, Chris Anderson, hosted a presentation followed by a discussion about his new book, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution and the Maker Revolution that inspired it. I had the opportunity to sit down with him and talk about this revolution and how it relates to social media and travel.
I asked him how adults could encourage kids to be makers in the midst of a service-oriented culture and economy. “When I grew up, we had shop class, industrial arts, home economics, and wood shop. All those got wiped out in the 1980s when manufacturing jobs declined and a service economy emerged. In other words, making things no longer represented a core value to the middle class,” he explained.
We’ve replaced those classes with business courses and computer labs and at the end of each computer lab, sits one or two laser printers. “It allows kids to learn business and computer skills from a very young age. But it doesn’t instill a passion to make things. All you’d need to do is add two 3D printers to that line-up and the computer lab becomes a design lab. It’s that simple.”
Anderson said that parents and schools can get the necessary design tools without spending a penny. It surprised me to learn that people can access powerful high-tech software like CAD and Tinkercad for free. “Using these tools in the lab or on a home computer, kids can understand that anything they can imagine can become a tangible object they can touch and hold,” Anderson said.
Wired Into Robotics
The emerging field of robotics represents a new cutting edge of technology. As it continues to evolve, it will give birth to new innovations, new cultural norms, and, as always, new challenges. Anderson will serve as CEO of 3D Robotics and I asked him what excites him most about the new position. “Having only one job, as opposed to many,” he laughed. All joking aside, he revealed that he’s most excited about making real stuff, using real factories, and delivering real products. He will focus on areas involving flying robotics, which are unmanned drones. As we spoke, his excitement clearly gained in intensity. The passion he feels for this new industrial revolution is evident in his speech, facial expressions, and gestures. You can read all about it in his new book, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.
Everyone Faces Challenges
Naturally, I asked him about his biggest challenge in running WIRED magazine. “The fun part is coming up with ideas and being exposed to fascinating people, the graphic design, though, that aspect challenged me. I don’t have an artistic bone in my body,” admitted Anderson. As with many of us, it’s the age-old left-brain, right-brain communication disconnect that confounds him.
His willingness to openly offer this very real challenge he faces as the WIRED editor-in-chief impressed me. Anderson is just like anyone else – maybe just a bit more “wired” in.