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Month: July 2022

2022 Symposium

VR is about to reach mass usage so we are focusing on text in VR, specifically for knowledge work, for the 2022 Symposium. Similarly, we look at AI methods for augmenting text since this is also becoming mainstream.

Why Text? | Why VR & AI? | VR Experiences

In order to unleash text in VR and text using the power of AI, we will need to upgrade the infrastructures of text, something which will benefit traditional digital text as well.

The potential of digital text has been left largely untapped after it was demonstrated to us by the pioneers in the 1960s–once digital text became mainstream the question of what it could be faded from public imagination. Now that we are entering the whole new world of VR we have a chance to fire up our imagination as to what richly interactive digital text can be and how it can help us think and communicate. This moment won’t last forever, once VR is commonplace we will likely see the same fading of curiosity as to what text and be and what it can do for us, so let us use this time wisely.


Book & Symposium

The full record of the Symposium, including presentations and Q&A/Dialogue, will be published in ‘The Future of Text’ Vol III: Future Text Publishing.


When & Where

The Symposium was held on the 27th and 28th of September 2022, at The Linnean Society, London, UK, and Online via Zoom. 

Jaron Lanier Keynote

Ken Perlin Closing Keynote



Who We Are

This Symposium is hosted by Frode Alexander HeglandIsmail Serageldin and Vint Cerf. The curators and editors of the event and the subsequent ‘Future of Text’ volume 3 are Dene GrigarClaus Atzenbeck and Mark Anderson.

Presentations will include Jaron Lanier (keynote), as well as Andreea Ion Cojocaru, Andy Campbell, Annie Murphy Paul, Bob Horn, Bob Stein, Bronac Ferran, Caitlin Fisher, Cynthia Haynes, Deena Larsen, Eduardo Kac, Fabien Benetou, Jack Kausch, Jim Hollan, Kalev Leetaru, Karina Ngyen, Ken Perlin, Lorenzo Bernaschina, Mark Anderson, Mez Breeze, Michael Roberts, Peter Wasilko, Sam Brooker, Scott Rettberg & Yiliu Shen-Burke.



Abstract. Presenters will submit an abstract which will be distributed to all the attendees 1 week before the symposium, on the 20th of September, as a special issue of our Journal. There is no restriction on length, format or style though there are some suggestions in the ‘Information for Presenters‘. Attendees, are also invited to submit a brief outline of their thoughts on the subject or what they expect from the event, which will also be distributed.
This will be included in the ‘Future of Text’ book, unless requested otherwise.

The draft Future of Text Volume 3 with abstracts

Presentation On The Day. On the day there will be 5-10 mins for presentations, which may be exactly the same as the submitted abstract, a summary or a new presentation on the same topic, then 10-15 mins dialogue, for a total of 20 mins per presenter. This is a deadline we hold rigorously, to make the flow more relaxed for everyone 🙂
The presentation and full Q&A/Dialogue will be transcribed and included in the book.

Comments. Everyone is welcome to submit a comment on their own, someone else’s or a general comment a month later.
This will also be included in the book.




The hosts and curators: Frode Hegland, Vint Cerf, Ismail Serageldin, Dene Grigar, Claus Atzenbeck & Mark Anderson.

Further Information

Why Text?

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 – let alone Doug Engelbart’s Augment of the 1970s – though we have vastly more text to deal with.

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

We don’t define text rigidly as this would artificially constrain this 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.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” Eleanor Roosevelt

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