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Richard Thieme

Richard Thieme is a former priest who became a commentator on technology and culture, founding the consulting firm ThiemeWorks. He is the author of the syndicated column "Islands in the Clickstream," which was published in 60 countries and in 2004 was turned into a book of the same name. In 2010 he published a book of short stories (Mind Games) and in 2012 he contributed to the peer-reviewed academic work, "UFOs and Government, a Historical Inquiry." Regarded as a member of the cyber avant-garde, Richard has spoken at various conferences since the mid-1990s, focusing on the impact of new technologies on individuals and organizational structures, with an emphasis on security and intelligence, and he has become somewhat of a father figure to many in the hacker subculture.


Keynote: Richard Thieme

Now More Than Ever: The Hacker Revolution Meets the Pandemic

A quarter century ago, Richard began addressing the impacts of the hacker revolution on the human inside the machine - how it would transform our lives, our thinking, our work, our identities. He was describing the "digital revolution" as a transformational engine, not as an academic exercise, but as genuine paradigm change. He was called "crazy" and "insane" but it all came to be as he described: hackers created the frames in which others lived - inside the bigger picture without even knowing it. Insanity, like wisdom, is apparently contextual.

The pandemic is creating another paradigm change which asks that we apply real hacker methodologies to new realities. Context matters, and the context is the content of our lives. Hackers have the tools to identify the fragments of a disintegrating society and use them to model new structures. Hackers have internalized procedures, assumptions, and working models to piece together parts of complex systems to create new wholes, to break down to break through. Hackers once again are thought leaders for a brave new world.

Leadership that is conscious and intentional puts the reins into our hands. This talk will illuminate how we need to apply our expertise to create a new landscape, how the "hacker ethos" translates into practical action. Because, as Philip K. Dick said, "Reality won't go away just because we refuse to believe in it."

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