Intel's Genevieve Bell: She's really quite a gel

Naturally there was standing room only at the “round table”  – it was oblong – that Genevieve Bell had to endure, in the Famous Room 9. Bell lit off by saying can’t we have more women to La Intella’s PR. That is a sentiment with which I heartily concurred. And in fact continue to concur.

You could call her Bell Labs, but I didn’t dare, in case she strangled me by the throat until dead. She’s been at Intel for 13 years  looks absolutely gorgeous, and applied her lipstick before all the men arrived. Sorry, wasn’t allowed to take a photograph.

Divining the Digital Future is the book what she has just written – an MIT book –  not Dragooning the Digital Future, and she has promised me a review copy – my email address is, Genevieve.

Intel, sorry Bell Labs, has labs in India and China. She said that as you look across the emerging markets spectrums, they are very diverse. Now smaller power laptops have arrived. Countries that don’t have a fantastic infrastructure like Africa are finding they’re connecting to the net over mobile phones. Ten percent of people in Tanzania have mobile phones, but they are kind of shared connections.

The iPad is a beautifully designed machine, she said, but it still needs a keyboard. The keyboard is still the best way to tell people things, to have your voice. It was first invented in 1865 and she seemed to think that I was around when it was invented.  Touch doesn’t work for everything though, she thinks.  There is a challenge of scale. Voice is good if it’s one to one. Voice works well if it’s one person, one object.  “It turns out that one of the great things in relationships is who is in charge,” particularly in relation to remote controls for television.

We look a lot of looking after our gadgets. The next generation will be one where we don’t do all the caretaking. They’re all saying “feed me, feed me, feed me”. When she looks at some of the next generation, she thinks they should be more nurturing of the people they own.

It’s about relationships. Some of the speculative works Bell Labs does is related to science fiction.

Bell’s Labs have been working on research protocols and methodologies where there’s a combination of different approand where the design elements are going. Bell’s Labs are looking at the megatrends. Science fiction prototyping means Intel takes science facts and turns them into science fiction. What?

I liked the idea of my Crackberry nurturing me so at the end of the  session, I took it out of my pocket, pointed my finger at it and shouted “nurture me, nurture me”. It just sort of laid there on the oblong table as if to reproach me.

Bell said we should all go to a site called Rate my Network Diagram. Apparently loads of geeks go there. It does say something about the shape of things to come. She asked me if I was around in 1955. Regrettably I was. She asked me if we had panel beaters in the UK. I said we did. Frankly this was a great session, and we are tipping Ms Bell to be the first female CEO of the Intel Corporation.

* PS – we bumped into Sean Maloney just outside Moscone West and we chatted for a few minutes. He is really quite a guy.