Al Gore

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Al Gore @ RSA 2008I had the opportunity to skip out of work this afternoon to see Al Gore’s keynote at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. First time seeing a Nobel Laureate in person!

Regardless of your political feelings, seeing Al Gore on stage was electifying. Funny too!

Gore spoke about emerging green tech and specifically about CO2 and the fact that it’s invisible. It’s invisible to see and smell and invisible to the markets and market control since there aren’t any economic incentives to control it.

He talked about asking the right questions to solve these problems and related a story of an electronics company that, while trying to find a replacement to CFCs used in cleaning circuit boards, asked the question “why did they need to be cleaned in the first place?” and came up with the “no-clean” process.

What resonated most to me was his call to use information technology to “make the invisible visible.”  That’s not something I had thought of.  Feels like I should put some more thought into that.

ps.  He came across as very country, very Tennessee.  Even wore boots.  Totally worth playing hookie for a couple hours this afternoon!

Update: CNET has an excellent article on Gore’s talk and does a better job covering it than I did.

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Categories: Non Work

One response

  1. James Napolitano wrote on :

    >What resonated most to me was his call to use information technology to “make the invisible visible.”

    I think there’s a huge potential for improvement by applying this principle towards general energy use. Right now consumers usually think of their electrical outlets as a sort of unlimited fountain of electricity. If everyone had some sort of digital meter in their house in plain view (not like those ones in the back you never look at) that displayed how much electricity was in use and how much it was costing them (both in $/hr and their total bill so far), then people would be a lot more concious of turning their things off. The instant feedback they’d back would also provide info on how best to save electricity, e.g. which appliances use the most. Out of sight, out of mind. The meter could also display the amount of C02 they’ve caused to be emitted. Everyone blames the big energy companies, but the demand side of the equation is just as important as the supply.
    (note: they do already have a handy gadget called a Kill-A-Watt that plugs into an outlet and tells you how much power a given appliance is using up)