Yesterday in my preparations for a New Year’s Resolution I mentioned that part of my goal was to keep ahead of the new technology. To do that requires seeing clearly where we are at right now, having a few historical data points for making projections and then trying to guess what is possible. Virtual Reality (VR) was my example, and it was a good example because there are clear data points for the last several years, and it is a technology that is about to explode upon the public. Several of the big-name companies are already pouring billions of dollars into VR development.
In searching a bit further into this problem it becomes apparent that to make realistic projections it is necessary to be in the flow of the things that are happening. I am clearly not in the flow. The tech people offhandedly condemn people who are out of contact with the flow, especially those fools who are still using flip-phones.
I must be a fool because I still use a flip-phone. In a typical day I am either at home, at a place where there is WiFi, or driving my car. It is difficult enough driving in Bend, Oregon, even when paying full attention because people here are so nice to one another that they routinely walk blindly in front of moving cars expecting them to automatically yield right-of-way. I have seen several wrecks, and know of a few others because friends of friends were involved.
My point is that I don’t want to use a smartphone while driving, and when I’m home I have my online computer, and when I have arrived at where I’m usually going I usually have WiFi. The hour or so I spend walking every day I don’t want to be anxiety ridden with the thoughts of the phone ringing with “urgent business” so even then I don’t need a smartphone. Or, do I?
So, I’m out of contact with modern reality and not only is it racing by me, and getting into wrecks, but it is clearly accelerating. A hundred years ago there were perhaps a few thousand people in close enough contact with the happenings of science and technology to know how to make a real difference. Now there are millions, and with the advent of cheap smartphones and the internet there are billions with access to the details of what’s happening and if they think in the right way can make vast sums of money. Amazon was created by one person and it’s beating the money out of everyone. Everyone except the Chinese company Baidu that’s beating Amazon at their own game. It was created not long ago by a guy that a decade ago was a near starving student hitching through America. You too can soon be a billionaire if you just do the right thing in the right way.
“I know of no way of predicting the future except by the past,” said Patrick Henry back in Revolutionary War times. Or perhaps more apropos to my current argument would be, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” according to Alan Kay, the inventor of the graphical user interface, etc., seen in the video Inventing the Future. I had no idea that he would conclude his video with exactly the concept that I have been promoting with the techniques for moving from infant, child, adolescent, adult, mature, sage to … 11:10 of Conclusion of Part 2.
“The future we want to invent is a future in which human beings have finally grown up into real adults rather than the half adults that we have today.”