Bruce Sterling's speech from the 04 SIGGRAPH is the first speech of Bruce's I've read in a few months that didn't make me completely infuriated with him. In it he talks about something I've been interested in ever since I listened to the interview that Massive Change Radio did with William McDonough, Cradle-to-Cradle design. Sterling doesn't call what he's talking about C-t-C but it's what he's talking about. Cradle-to-Cradle is the idea that everything you make should be able to be disassembled and reused for other products, or at least destroyed in such a way that it doesn't hurt anything. The idea is that you use the roof of a car factory to produce solar power, you build the car so that all the parts can be taken apart again and used in a new car (or other product) and that the environment isn't made worse by the use of harmful chemicals, etc. It's one of those 'duh' ideas that you'd think people would think about in their daily lives but they just don't, especially corporations whose sole interest is the bottom line. The interesting thing about McDonough's work is that he's helped companies actually help their bottom line by using C-t-C thinking. This is the important part and something that Sterling doesn't touch on. Or rather, he has a different focus. Rather than showing companies that by helping the environment they can make more money, Sterling is talking to geeks about how we don't have to be so stupid about manufacturing anymore. We are smart enough to be smart, basically. It's a good idea and an excellent speech. I recommend reading it.

Thanks to boingboing for the link.