Most surprising technologies

The best tech minds from America's best tech companies weigh in. Preview from Fortune's iMeme: The Thinkers of Tech conference.

Louise Guay
Louise Guay
Title: President and Founder, My Virtual Model
In 1986, I discovered that a computer was not only a calculator but also an integrator. I was able to create a Pocket Museum, which became my Ph.D.

The user - a child - could create a portrait of identity, selecting a character, a monument, a landscape and an object. The child was able to integrate his own image with a video camera, blend the four images with the video and send it through a videoconferencing satellite link to a virtual friend across the Atlantic. It was a project between France and Quebec. Several national museums were involved and I realized that museums and stores have a lot in common, as Stanley Marcus of Neiman Marcus pointed out several years ago.

My second museum was a digital museum of architecture commissioned by the Canadian Center of Architecture (CCA) founded by Phyllis Lambert, the heir of the Seagram family in Montreal. Existing museums of architecture have always been very abstract for the public. A digital museum allowed visitors to browse famous architects' libraries of plans and pictures of the construction sites.

I started to realize how interactive, visual applications were democratizing the most abstract realities. Architecture is the realm of corporations, institutions, governments and very wealthy people. It is great to make it real for people when they will play a part in it and use it for multiple public purposes.

My third museum was a museum of writing. This work was a multimedia biography of Glenn Gould. Being an interpreter, he wrote music by composing radio programs in which he orchestrated voices and music, editing everything by himself in his own recording studio. The Pocket Museum was an anticipation of My Virtual Model. J.F. St-Arnaud and I created My Virtual Model in 2001. Our vision and mission are to create the standard for the virtual identity. The users follow their own model, they create 3D model of themselves, they can shop by bringing their models with them on the Web and on their cell, and they can send it to their blogs with their closets, socializing with their friends about their fashion sense and the expression of their personality. Users are mobile with their virtual models, they can go from one website to another MVM-enabled site, and they are recognized. This is the mobility of the virtual identity. Many brands and retailers use it right now.

We are launching a new version, totally user-oriented, to be installed on major publishers' sites. The users can mix and match brands and develop their lifestyle with these creative technologies. We envision that people will use all kinds of avatars. They will have many types of avatars and will need garments for them in their wardrobe.

Richard Barton

Marc Benioff

Eva Chen

John Clippinger

Esther Dyson

Steve Fambro

Louise Guay

Bill Joy

Mark Lewis

Yusuf Mehdi

Harriet Pearson

Tomaso Poggio

Geordie Rose

Jonathan Schwartz

Sol Trujillo

Padmasree Warrior

Lee Thorn

Bruno Wu
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