I attended the first day of UNC's CHAT Festival yesterday. (C.H.A.T. stands for "Collaborations: Humanities, Arts & Technology.") Since I attended UNC as an undergraduate 20 years ago, it's really interesting to revisit my old haunts, but see them used in so many new and innovative ways. After an introduction by Chancellor Holden Thorp (my personal favorite UNC chancellor evar) we heard an opening keynote by Robbie Bach, President of Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division (who brought you Xbox 360, among other things).
Bach's talk focused on the future of digital arts and entertainment (mostly the latter). He said that the biggest changes would be in screens (phone, monitors, and more - not just TVs in homes), the emergence of a creative community, and interface (becoming more natural & interactive). While much of his remarks were broadly applicable, they focused mainly on his work, including a short infomercial for "Project Natal" a new technology being developed by Microsoft that will allow people to play video games with their bodies, rather than being intermediated by a joystick. I found it interesting to hear Bach's views on the direction of digital art and entertainment, especially from the personal consumer perspective. It wasn't clear how relevant this might be to the humanities, non-commercial art, or educational/academic/research fields.
HASTAC Scholar Mike Nutt did a great job of blogging yesterday's CHAT panel on Entrepreneurship and Collaboration. You can see his and other posts about the CHAT Festival by visit the HASTAC@CHAT tag here on hastac.org, and I also recommend following the CHAT Festival's official Twitter hashtag #uncCHAT for reports from a wide variety of participants.