The Next Web Conference has never had a special theme. TNW is simply about ‘the next Web’ and what will happen next is partly revealed by our speakers, partly by our audience and partly not decided at all. The reason why we never named a theme upfront is that we can never truly imagine what an upcoming edition holds in store.
What we do know is that our speakers are always perfectly capable of presenting a glimpse of the Internet’s future. That’s because they study technology trends and their impact on business and culture on a daily basis or decide on these developments from their position in big technology companies.
A platform for fans and critics
The Next Web wants to be an independent platform for the internet’s brightest thinkers, fans, critics and anarchists. We hope to celebrate what’s good about digital innovation, and reflect on its widespread impact at the same time. We believe technology can solve the world’s biggest problems, but when used in the wrong hands, with the wrong intentions, it can also break the basic constitutions of society – our freedom.
New technologies, digital currencies, algorithms that predict what you want, government surveillance and companies making money with your personal data – all of these trends are growing in ways that are difficult to track. Some developments are fantastic, some are plain scary and the threatening part is that most of it is incomprehensible to us. The bigger picture is still missing.
It’s time for The Next Web to take a stand and announce a theme for this year’s Conference:
Power to the ppl
From TNW’s speaker lineup to the stage designs and merchandise, you will notice a praise for a people’s revolution. A revolution in power, in politics, in governmental systems, in media, in monopoly positions, in consumerism, in education, in charity. We need to reveal the bigger picture of what’s going on and how we contribute.
Speakers who will share their unique vision on this people’s revolution at TNW Europe include: David Weinberger (Bestselling Author of ‘Too Big To Know’), Brewster Kahle (Digital Librarian, Founder of Archive.org and WAIS), Ancilla Tilia (Privacy Activist, lead member of the Pirate Party) and Dale J Stephens (Founder of Uncollege.org). You can check the full list of TNW Europe speakers.
It’s not all darkness though. On the contrary! It was never easier to start a business on your own. People are empowered to do the craziest things imaginable. More than ever before, there are direct and instantaneous channels of communication between people to interact and do business on a global scale. Important philanthropic causes get a global platform through the Internet, raising awareness for those in need and giving every single person on the planet a voice with (at least potential) impact.
One thing is for sure: the days of corporations and governments solely setting the agenda are over. The commercialization and accessibility of technology means that end users hold both the knowledge and the power to decide on their individual needs.
See you in Amsterdam on April 24 and 25 for The Next Web Conference Europe 2014.