innovate with china…

…was the slogan of this year’s Shenzhen Maker Faire. I attended on Sunday, and then Monday afternoon joined researchers from the Institute For the Future on a tour of BGI (Beijing Genomics Institute) or “China Great Gene (华大基因)” as the name translates from the Chinese.

What did I see and learn?

That children love playing with gadgets. That most of the “products” were in fact toys. And that the most popular booths had the greatest room for serious play. In other words, the successful objects themselves structured a particular–and somehow “first”–experience. Hence, the wow moments that attracted children and adults alike.

That BGI has concentrated a massive amount of capital and resources in order to further the production of data. Moreover, as the cost of mapping genomes has dropped from $US 3B to around $US 3,000 in a little over twenty years, the data has proliferated to the point where the challenge facing researchers is technologies for storing and analyzing the data. I’m not sure what this volume of data means in terms of life experiences, but it does strike me that our imaginations constantly seek material form. And I learned the expression human augmentation, as if we are not enough.

That the Shekou Relaunch campaign has brought in interesting cultural programs to the area. In addition, these programs have been popular and attracted residents from all over the city to Shekou. So notable that–again–we’re looking at the design of experience. And all this hinges on the promulgation of culture and creativity as both the means and ends of socio-economic development.

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