The Future!

As a futurist there are a couple of things I can't wait for. One of them is already here.  You know what I'm talking about?  Google glass; now hear me out!  I know some of the early adopters have been, well, kind of dickish about their toys.  I think I've heard the term ‘glassholes’ thrown about.  I think it’s a great technology.  It kind of looks stupid as hell, but at the same time it’s not far off from what people several decades back thought the future would look like. 

I’m going to be a little judgmental about this whole thing though.  If you don’t think that this technology is inevitable… take a moment here and try to remember how you gained knowledge prior to the early 90s.  When a piece of trivia came up and an argument ensued, how did you settle the argument?  It’s kind of hard to remember now, isn’t it, folks?  Did you carry around your parents cell phone with its own carrying case for the battery, which did not have even basic features like text?  Did you go to the closest college library to hop on the BBS and find out how many home runs Mickey Mantle hit? The answer is 536 (coincidentally, this was common knowledge where I grew up).

So where was I?  Oh yeah.  That’s a technological singularity.  That’s what happens when a civilization collectively forgets how they functioned before a specific technology or set of technologies came into existence and permanently replaced certain behaviors, actions or ways of thinking.  There will come a time in the very near future when you will forget what life was like before wearable computers, whether it’s just further integration of cell phones, Google Glass, or implants. One day you’ll be sitting in your living room passing a Camel Blunt™ and you’ll look at your buddy and say “Hey, remember when we had to use a mouse to click through porn and we had to do it on a physical screen anyone walking in on us could view?”

The other technology I can’t wait for is the ability for computers to be able to understand the brain’s language.  You remember in the Matrix when Neo loads a fighting program and a few moments later he opens his eyes and says “I know kung-fu?”  I want that.  Actually, that technology will be required before we can have implants that allow us to control things or have fake telepathy.  It will also be necessary before anyone injects nano-bots into my bloodstream.  I don’t want nanites getting into arguments with my white blood cells because they don’t speak the same language.  I also want to be able to browse, turn pages, write and join a flame war with my mind.  I want to be able to think and make something happen on a screen.  I want to be able to draw pictures and write music with my mind.  But mostly, I want the ability to think about the temperature of the fucking shower and have it be that temperature!  It’s 2015 and I still have to tickle the hot and cold to get the right temperature!

Technological singularities will continue to happen.  And you probably won't recognize they happened until you come across someone much younger than you that can't understand how your old ass functioned without those technologies.  Of course, there is a major risk in being hard-wired to the world wide web.  Crackers and disinfo.  Every technology that has ever existed has been exploited or hacked in some way.  Every form of communication has been used to spread propaganda.  How do we protect the human species when there are more hard-wired people than not.  I have some ideas, and surely many others do as well, but we'll have to see.  Until then I will continue to avoid early adoption of new technologies.


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