The symposium has now concluded and it was a wonderful two days we shared. Outcomes from the two days will be posted here. The organizers would like to thank all the panellists, attendees and in particular  Karen Engelbart and Bill and Roberta English.


Recordings of Presentations


Slides  |  Videos  |  ePub of All Presentations as transcripts

Photographs  |  Posters  |  Rapid Foresight Map




Working Documents


 Projects  |  Manifesto | Shared Google Drive Trend Posters






The Program for The Future presents The Future of Text 2015 with the theme Tools for Thought.


Why a symposium on text? To be more effective at our work we need more effective ways to interact with the masses of text we come across in our work every day. Very little has improved since the first graphical word processor of the Macintosh in 1984, though we have vastly more text to deal with.


This is why we convene for The Future of Text, because the future of text has not yet been written.



We don't define text rigidly as this would constrain our future. The essential element of text is its symbolic meaning, which even the first red dot in the cave provided - giving it the property of communication over time. Further is the grammar which connects pieces into greater wholes. As for the rest, let's look into that together.



While face to face discussion, getting to know people and learning how to be great collaborators are supremely important (hence the symposium’s very existence to start with), we feel that the documents we communicate through for the day to day business of knowledge work needs to massively improve - it’s simply not enough to try to stay on top of information, it can no longer be a valid excuse that there is too much information - we must develop more powerful ways to interact with, and through the information, allowing the information to be a resource, not a drag on our abilities to think and communicate. We need to dive into the pool of meaning to collaborate effectively to improve the world we live in and which we want to present to future generations.


The focus is by no means about text in isolation, in a column, on a page. The focus is on expanding the usefulness of text as symbol manipulation and communication, with rich interactivity and high levels of visual control and use of the high-bandwidth human visual field. In other words, let’s keep the core notion of the power behind the symbols but let’s blow the doors away with what that might actually mean.


(Images, both moving and still, as well as audio in all its varied forms are of course also important in the same way, but these other media-attributes are well covered in other forums, as are discussions on collaboration and communication in general.)





This year we will be in a new location from our London origins, we will be in Silicon Valley at The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation 1661 Page Mill Rd, Palo Alto, CA  94304, United States



Day 1 - Panel Presentations


 The format for day 1 is 10 minute presentation followed by 5 minute dialogue, rigorously enforced for a stress-free day. Slides or no slides is up to the individual speaker. No live demos of any software however, due to the very short speaking slots. The purpose of day one is to bring together as many useful perspectives on the future of text as possible, however tangential, to stimulate creative thinking. Please note we only have 60 spaces and please also note that anyone who attends needs to be present all day, not just for specific sessions.


9th of December Schedule




Day 2 - Collaborative Day


The purposes of the day is to:


  • Bring participants from sharing into collaboration around the future of text
  • Engage participants in collaborative vision building
  • Move  from vision-sharing into vision-enacting


Structure of the day:


  • Participants choose their preferred topic and start working in groups, making several rounds of sharing
  • Participants start by  mapping the future of text
  •  Participants then  create statements about the future of text that result in a co-created draft manifesto
  • Participants then prepare tasks for people who want to implement this vision which The Program For The Future will hold early 2016


December 10th will be Collaboration Day  which, to be effective, will have a smaller amount of participants (40 including the previous day's panellists). To register for this event you must also attend the 9th of December event and please be aware that the second day is a full-on building the future of text working day.


10th of December Schedule






All the presentations from Day 1 will be made available on YouTube and Day 2 will result in a Manifesto and tasks for a 'hackaton', which will be published as an ebook, on the web and as a printed book.






 • Frode Hegland Developer and teacher

 • Sam Hahn VP of Technology at eGain Corporation & collaborologist

 • Kennan Salinero of ReImagine Science

 • Pavel  Luksha of SKOLKOVO, Moscow School of Management



Special Thanks


Pavel, Timour, Kevin, Houria, Gail, Juliet & Mark




The Future of Text Symposium is a Deep Literacy Initiative