Tech CTOs, Venture Capitalists Predict the Future at FIRE

Jim Louderback reports from the Future in Review conference, where top CTOs and venture capitalists predict which technologies are worth watching. (

SAN DIEGO—The annual Future in Review conference is an anomaly.

Other executive-level conferences seem to be as much about the socializing outside the sessions as the sessions themselves. FIRE, on the other hand, is all about the content.

Instead of a cocktail party at the end of the day, for example, this group boarded buses to explore the new CalIT2 technology center at the University of California, San Francisco.

Covering a wide range of topics, from nanotech to biotech, globalization and technology, it attracts some of the smartest people working and investing in technology. The audience composition leans more toward technology experts than marketing-driven CEOs.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here for details about the previous FIRE (Future in Review) conference.

I love it because Im the dumbest person in the room; its a throwback to the Socratic form of learning, where you study at the feet of the masters. After two days of discussions one always comes away feeling just a bit smarter.

Todays focus will be on some of the more interesting predictions made at FIRE, while tomorrow Ill take a closer look at some of the nanotech and space exploration discussion from the show.

Ill wrap up by describing the amazing new technologies being explored at the CalIT2 center at UCSD, along with some quick hits.

(The week of May 22, look for a special Whats New Now podcast, recorded at FIRE, with Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot.)

Because its called "Future in Review," much of the conference focuses on the next five years. "Specific Innovation" discussions spread out across two panels. The first featured an A-list of chief technology officers, including Phil Hester of AMD, Jeff Nicklaus of EMC, and Jonathan Murray, CTO for Microsofts EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) division.

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