mlove – Trying to figure out the future of mobile, the universe and… everything

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Alternative Tablets: The Next Big Thing Or Dead On Arrival?

MLOVE has been something of an underground movement the last couple of years. Billed as a ‘confestival’ it’s more like the kind of three-day off-the-wall workshop with a few (excellent, mind) keynote speeches that you might have found happening in the Mission district during the 1960s. There is a lot of high concept thinking about not just the future of mobile and its effects on society, but the future of society itself.

In part because MLOVE entertains just 250 people (only 150 in 2010) and its 200 miles form Berlin, you get to interact with the speakers in a way you might not at other conferences.

Held in an 18th century castle in the former East Germany, participants, drum to a beat set down by organiser Harald Neidhardt (interviewed below), but he is a benign curator, bringing in speakers from all over the world to share their knowledge of mobile and creativity.

The event covered the areas of education, health, entertainment, communication and – in part because I insisted – commerce (which ended up being a major theme).

Meanwhile, a “Teen Camp” lets a group of European teenagers spin up ideas of their own separate to the main conference and present their thoughts at the end. It was a sobering dose of a teenagers eye-view of the world.

Speakers included Thomas Goetz, Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, Katsutoshi Kitamura who went over the augmented reality game iButterfly (try it on your iphone – with a special MLOVE edition – for first time outside of Japan). And Grammy Award winning Musician Chamillionaire talked about his adventures in tech. A startup competition crowned Berlin based bookletmobile, which brings booklets to mobile devices based on location.

The event culmates with the MLOVE Future Cubes, which have to produce 10 themes from the event.

The resulting conclusion of all this workshopping was deep, though a tad vague: “The positive future of society depends on the balance between humanity, technology and commerce.”

No matter, it’s the connections and the conversations that seem to be the main win at this event.