Most tech conferences like whiz!-bang! gadgets, but this week’s Pop!Tech conference highlights the deeper trends in silicon’s disruptive march through contemporary society.

From its off-beat location in Camden, Maine to its eclectic roster of speakers, Pop!Tech attempts to separate itself from the gleeful Silicon Valley greed and glitz. Once considered a home for the American strain of technoutopianism (not unlike a certain tech magazine), this year’s program – themed “Scarcity and Abundance” – showcases the evolution of the event into a highly international and humanitarian affair.

Like an East Coast TED conference, the conference is a must-attend for intellectual heavyweights who think and write about the impacts technology has on people and their behavior. Previous speakers include game designer Will Wright, gerontologist Aubrey de Grey, geek/musician Jonathan Coulton, and arch-scientist Craig Venter.

Over the week, Wired.com will be profiling a series of the conference’s up-and-coming stars who just might use the bright lights of the Pop!Tech stage to launch themselves into memedom.

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