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Where is Technology Headed? The Many Questions to Ask


Posted by on July 24, 2008

where is technology headed?

photo credit $ydney

100 years ago if you were to show someone an iphone you would be considered some sort of mystical being or god (even though being the only one in the world with an iphone is not that practical). Today you show someone an iphone and it’s still a neat device but it’s almost expected. Think about how far we have come with technology. Remember the old video game systems like Nintendo or Atari? There is no way you can compare that to today’s Xbox 360 or PS3. What about computers? Remember that old computer you used to have with the little “turbo” button to help speed it up? What about that 56k dial up modem you used to have? Now we have blazing speeds that allow you to stream and download virtually anything.

We have made tremendous progress in the world of technology but where do you think it’s headed? Think about how “connected” everyone is right now, the more and more “connected” we get the more and more artificial we can be. I mean, now everyone has a phone/pda/laptop, etc. In 100 years are we going to be born or implanted with iphones or tech devices? Are even going to have to speak to communicate or will we just be able to look at each other and have circuits register our thoughts? Are games going to be 3d virtual reality games that simulate the same killing or fighting that we are used to now? Is the internet going to be a ubiquitous blanket across the world, where all you need to do is turn on a laptop to “plug in?” What are the relationships going to be like, will we still go out for coffee with our friends and will we still have wine tastings and house warming parties?

Now, if you own a PS3 you don’t even need to move to go rent a movie, you can order directly from your system. If you want to do grocery shopping you don’t need to go to the supermarket, you order it online. If you want to chat with someone or have a meeting you no longer need a physical presence, you can do so on skype. If you want to buy a cd you can get one via torrent, stream it, or just buy it online and have it delivered to you. If you want to get good you don’t need to go to a restaurant, you can order it online and have it brought to your door. I can’t help but think of that scene in Wall-E where all the humans become these large immobile objects…you know the scene.

With the emphasis on being “connected” we may actually become disconnected. I don’t know what the future of technology will be like or what web 3.0, 4.0 or 5.0 will look like but I hope 200 years from now when we look back we won’t be saying “wow, I wish we could go back to web 2.0.”

The reality is that it’s so hard for us to see where we are going, in fact we can’t because we are not the observers, we are the participants. Think about being in a relationship, have you ever had a friend of yours tell you “I’m so glad you broke up with him/her you guys were not a good fit and he/she was crazy!” When you are in a relationship you can’t see what other’s see, you are not the observer and therefore you are limited in perspective and thought. You are constrained to see and believe in what you are engaged in, the same goes for everyone else. I can see what others can’t and others and others can see what I can’t, but collectively we are blind, we are all in a relationship with technology and with the world as a whole and it doesn’t matter how hard we try to see things as observers, we can’t. This is a type of paradox we live in, a paradox in which we can create almost anything yet see nothing.

So I ask you, where do you think technology is headed? What do you think will happen in 100/200 years and beyond?

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  • http://danielgraaff.com Daniel Graaff

    In my humble opinion, technology has exposed some things about humans which we are about to realize in one large “oh,” globally. Right now we are very checked-out as a human organism. We are peasants as Lennon would say, to the extent that we are not volitional in a conscious way. Right now even if we do have freedom of will, we do not use it, and technology is drawing our attention to this. Also, the super-abundance of options is calling attention to our lack of desire for options, as you showed us in one post. You raise a good point on the difference between observation and participation. I think this is the key to the difference in paradigm. Right now we are dating someone really, really bad for us. It is a spirituality, and we are not really aware of it. Only some of us see this. Others rule out spirit. That is interesting because spirit is all about desire and choices, it is about will. So they will-not say that will exists. That requires a quote from the band Rush. “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.” They wrote songs about your blog post. Like ‘New World Man’ and ‘Digital Man’ and ‘The Weapon.’ I find them to sing like blue-prints for a purposeful world where technology serves an awakened race of masters, rather than an unconscious slave race.

    Right now, we are participating in non-participation. We are observing what we ought to participate in, consciously. That is to say we are unconscious and going about like we know what we are doing. Children do this when they play “doctor” or “house.” The idea is that imagination takes precedence over reality and it is called play. This is good, but not when one becomes responsible for tasks of consequence. So right now we are the cosmic adult-still-living-at-home from a universal perspective. And to make matters worse, we are not even observing this lack of participation because we are at play in a time for work. We are instead participating in non-observation. From that position observing non-participation. Just look at a teenager supposed to be involved in the dinner table conversation, or considering the words of their parent while they have a text messaging device within reach. It looks like there is stuff being done, but is there? Is it the right stuff? Is it of the quality of thing which satisfies the criteria of progress? Maybe in an instant gratification world, but not in a world with other people in it. Especially when those other people are mothers.

    So we ARE participating in non-participation and ARE observing non-observation. This is at least honest, and now it is stated positively. Now that our heads are spinning, we decide to create brand names and “put on shirts and sell each other [products]” to quote and censor Alice In Chains. But a curious thing happens to us when we do this. I call it the “just fix it” factor. It is the dynamic which happens when someone wants to play a multi-player-only game and cannot connect to the server, or wants to perhaps install a new printer and has no cable for it: frustration and desperation. People start writing blog posts about USB cables and about data loss. (hehe) These two situations of pain varieties are vital and cause self-consciousness. What was previously unconscious non-participation becomes conscious non-participation, or observation of a no-effect situation. This is very possibly why we each get a smack when we enter the world. It focuses our attention on the smack, which in itself causes us to cry, but hey, now we are crying. Before we were having a womb-thought, and now we are having a pissed off non-womb thought. At this point people will often grasp at something to numb the pain of being in a dysfunctional scenario. But instant gratification is its own problem in a reality tuned to perseverance.

    This is getting long, but you have asked a question I think about constantly, as a technology designer and futurist. I guess it is ok this post is long considering it is a contemplation of our existence.

    What is the solution? Where is technology going? Well, now we need to quote Mos Def. He said of Hip-hop, “people talk about Hip-hop like it’s some big-foot in the forest. WE ARE hip-hop. So next time you ask yourself what is hip-hop doing, ask yourself what am I doing?” That is paraphrased. It also applies to technology. Technology is the period of time where politicians lost power because between them and the people is now a non-partisan, non-human, x-factor. This means that if TV were removed, or walkie-talkies, the people-system dies. Period. This would be very interesting to observe and participate in, but instead of that, I am working on systems based on spiritual material which cannot go offline, and point out to us that WE are technologies. WE are artificial intelligence, in one way of describing us. We are ideas. Who is having us as a thought being is an interesting question but people usually get on medication instead of asking that, or they surround themselves with people who make medication, or they go on a train of thought away from medication which ends up become their medication. All this is a defense against actually participating. It’s like when someone tries waking you up and you are ALL ABOUT continuing to sleep. I am like that. I even fall back asleep sometimes and dream of being awake and getting dressed and all the particulars of starting a productive day. Not so much any more, but I used to.

    So I laid out the situation we are in of non-participation and non-observation, but obviously I am commenting on a blog post of someone observing something and participating in something, and I myself and observing and participating, so what does that do? Well, it means that someone with the capability to create new systems, and someone who obviously calls attention to new things are talking, and that means that there is the potential for change. What change? Well, what does change change relative to? Non-change. Without non-change there is not change, otherwise that change is in itself non-change. So what does not change? A hah! Now we are getting somewhere. Once we put out toys away, we will discover that the solution to human technology suicide is right here in our play pen. We just refuse to put down the white coats and titles and really start some cosmic work. We see ourselves as something we are not, and everything we think from that point on is not a thought. It is a memory of a race we never were so it is a delusion. I am intentionally not giving what I actually think originated us, or what mire we transpired from. What good does it do to argue over how you came to the argument? Is the next moment in your conversation being experienced or is it being delayed?

    Let’s pull in one outside topic to set this against in contrast. What sets gas prices? Do we even know? We think we know. Do we? Who knows? Is it speculation? Is it OPEC? Is that truly the deciding factor? Ultimately we still pay whatever it costs because we need to get home. So it continues and presumably, until the solution comes, but what is that? And to whoever the profits are going to right now, that is actually a problem. It is an end of a gravy train. My point is that life is anchored, right now, to an undefined constant we cannot touch or hope to influence unless we do something really drastic, all together, but we can’t do that because we also cannot eat together or stay on one train of thought without something buzzing or flashing or speaking directions in a digitized voice. Our thoughts are not thoughts, they are traffic accidents where we still survive most of the time and eventually accomplish enough to keep eating but very soon not even that. I venture that this is occurring because of influences we are not paying attention to. Other people venture other reasons, but either way we are all looking for a reason all the time. We base our next thought on ‘something’ and the idea is for that ‘something’ to be ‘something’ which is participating in reality which is more or less observing reality at the same time. Right now though, the basis for tomorrow’s thought is the fear we have today, and that has been true for thousands and thousands of years.

    As I continually say to people, we are womb-beings. We are in momma. We are not awake or alive from a perspective of the universe, and for that reason we cannot see the cause and effect of what is really happening, we instead play with out toys. So what I believe is going to happen is that in the blink of an eye, a true, real, quantifiable Universal is going to fall into the playground like a bombshell. I believe I know what that Universal is, but I am waiting for the pain aspect to peak so that the desire aspect also peaks and the market suddenly exists for a real life. A conscious platform for conscious beings. It will know you before you login and not by invasive means. It will understand you, generally, to the point where it will never inundate you with options or cause technology to get out of control. Because think about it, if the tool supply became so fast that an urgent task became impossible, does the term ‘tool’ apply any more? No! Only a fool in his madness would continue that behavior. So as an organism which has the option of intentionality, technology will serve as a smack on the butt for us and we will realize we were in the womb, and suddenly, we will be responsible, living-outside-the-parent’s-house beings. This will all be very fun, and play will pail in comparison.

    I am working on a good respond to your excellent email!