Lift is an organisation which hosts an ongoing series of events around the world, exploring the social impact of new technologies. The most recent European event was held in the southern French city of Marseille in partnership with Fing, the “New Generation Internet Foundation”. The aim of Fing is to concentrate more on the social implications of new technologies, the ways in which it changes people’s lives – rather than the way it functions.
Developments presented at the expo included a “green watch” designed to connect Joe Public with the environment. The captor-watch uses Blue tooth to connect with a GPS telephone. The idea is to ask people to wear this watch in which there are 2 captors, one measuring and one measuring noise (most people’s biggest nuisance gripe in the city). From the data collected pollution can be mapped in the areas frequented by people wearing the green watch. Beside hi tech projects, were also exhibited projects related more closely to the envronment, like Flowerbox – interior walls of plants and plants which de-pollute the air. A cactus called Cerus Peruvianus from Peru absorbs electro-magnetic waves. They can grow up to 3-4 metres high in Peru but even a baby one can absorb the waves produced by a computer. Local students contributed the “Open Source Washing Machine” which was built from recycled materials and a solar panel. The aim was to show that simple, cheap, socially liberating alternatives do exist. The project looked at how laundry is done around the world, because usually it’s done by women in quite difficult conditions. Hi-tech, low-tech, the “Lift with FING” conference looked at everything which is currently being developed, and which could be part of our future. For more information see http://www.liftconference.com and/or http://www.fing.org