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W2 connects with world in GloNet/Future Everything Conference

 Globally Networked Event (GloNet)at the W2 Storyeum yesterday focused on open data and social inclusion, spanning five time zones with live and virtual speakers who created a dialogue between Vancouver, Canada, Sao Paolo, Brazil, and a live UK audience.

 Speaker in Sao Paolo Brazil on big screen TV monitor

Hywel of W2 texting W2, using laptop, and listening to speaker from UK

W2 participants on their laptops while being filmed while viewing TV monitor of live speakers from Brazil

GloNet is a new model developed by FutureEverything for group-to-group, globally networked events. Both real and virtual people are brought together through texts, TV monitors, laptops, videos, cameras, and wired talking boxes. These boxes are made of computers with a video camera to see each other, a speaker system to talk to each other, and an Internet connection to the other boxes in the other global cities taking part in the conversation.

Hywel of W2 using the talking box

Stephen Hill of W2 using the talking box

Picture of Kathie Wallace taking a picture of a UK man while also talking to him using the talking box


Will, W2 technical director

Irwin Oostindie, executive director of W2, described GloNet as a new version of an old-fashioned mailing party where people gathered together to send out letters with stamps affixed. Oostindie went on to say GloNet uses technology that was originally created to advance the military. Now it can be used for causes such as connecting disparate, like-minded communities around the world to share individual and common experiences. It can ensure the edges of cities and distinct cultures remain intact as we become more mediated by technology but also consumed by the dominant narratives in the global culture.

With the ubiquitous Internet, we risk becoming regulated consumers and receivers of a narrow cultural dissemination of information by the corporate culture. Retaining our individuality and diverse perspectives requires safeguarding individual expression to protect the dynamic human ecology. Oostindie stated that one of W2’s goals is to empower individuals by helping them engage with creative technology in collaboration and inclusion to deal with the alienation between disparate communities. In dealing with the digital divide, W2 uses technology to connect with other worldwide groups to share stories of marginalized communities with the whole world.

A speaker from Brazil also mentioned that these gatherings give people agency over their own circumstances. In addition to open software, there is the need for open structures, open minds, and a real openness among all people.

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