The Age of Context


Date Thursday December 19th 2013
Time 5:00-6:30pm (5:00-6:00 presentation and Q&A, followed by networking until 6:30)
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium, PARC

PARC Forum

Smart phones, sensors, wearables, ingestibles, data collection, and location-based technologies are converging with social media to deliver us into the new Age of Context (a new book written by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel). More and more, these things are with us wherever we go: in the devices we carry, the things we wear, the cars we drive, and increasingly in homes and public buildings.

Making it easier to find TV shows, locate businesses, and detect cancer, contextual intelligence promises to make ads more useful and possibly even appreciated by their audience. Contextual technology is showing up in all kinds of devices and applications, and is enabling connection and communication to other ‘things,’ allowing new understanding, which can help us be healthier, prepared, informed, and just generally better off, especially when context is fully understood.

Technology could allow toothbrushes to report you to the dentist when you have a cavity; allow cars that can establish or destroy alibis for criminals or straying spouses; provide homes with mirrors to show you what you look like in the clothes on a hanger; and give a view of a new haircut before you make the appointment at the salon. As the technologies continue to evolve to help with contextual understanding, we can also start to think about predictive services and recommendation assistants that can help us be on time for an appointment, keep us healthier, and even help us protect our own privacy.


Robert Scoble is among the world’s best-known tech journalists. In his day job as Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for the latest developments on technology’s bleeding edge. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports for Rackspace TV and in social media. He can be found at You can email him at, and communicate with him on social networks as Robert Scoble.

Shel Israel helps businesses tell their stories in engaging ways as a writer, consultant, and presentation coach. He writes The Social Beat column for Forbes and has contributed editorially to BusinessWeek, Dow Jones, Fast Company, and American Express Open Forum. He has been a keynote speaker more than 50 times on five continents. You can follow him at and talk to him at or on most social networks as shelisrael.

David Gunning directs PARC's efforts in artificial intelligence and predictive analytics focused on the enterprise. Working on projects in anomaly and fraud detection, contextual intelligence, recommendation systems, and tools for smart organizations, Gunning focuses on developing rich, predictive user models to capture and understand the situational context well enough to prioritize information, make recommendations, and act on the user’s behalf.

Additional information

Focus Areas

Our work is centered around a series of Focus Areas that we believe are the future of science and technology.

Licensing & Commercialization Opportunities

We’re continually developing new technologies, many of which are available for Commercialization.


PARC scientists and staffers are active members and contributors to the science and technology communities.