Monday, February 09, 2009
I am currently reading Bruce Sterlings " Tomorrow Now " where the author is attempting to realistically look in to the next fifty years & speculate on what may happen.
This is not a flight of fantasy nor is it outrageous in its predictions. It simply looks at what will become obsolete & what may become the next big thing.
The first thing that strikes me as obvious is his total disregard for what we now regard as " cutting edge". He states that the following industries are already old hat: Artificial intelligence, Cloning, Computers.
The reasons are cleverly thought out & if you spare them a seconds thought obvious.
Artificial intelligence is not possible. Without someone programming them, machines cannot learn, they cannot think, they lack what he calls " the meaty software of humans" they lack the biological neural centred pathways we all use to learn. We make more sophisticated computers, but they do not get any smarter. Cloning is now as old hat & as yesterday as test tube babies. As he states "go ahead, make one, where's the market"?
His predictions so far are that bacteria are where genetic engineering will develop, they are easier to manipulate & far more useful to us. The IT market of the future will be more & more consumer items we think we need, not particularly better than the old ones just full of more choices (the mobile phone for example). If it is not full of " stuff " then your fingers will not be forever on the keypad, which means you will not use it as much, which in turn is less profit for the Phone company & the software provider.
After reading half the book I already can see a future where form follows function is obsolete & we are entering an age full of plastic knick-knacks that we don't really need but will covet, because we believe quite wrongly in my opinion that they enhance our lives. Here's some food for thought about the education of our children.
" Today's children are held to gruelling 19th century standards. Today's successful adults learn constantly, endlessly developing skills and moving from temporary phase to temporary phase, much like pre schoolers. Children are training for stable roles in large paternalistic bureaucracies. These enterprises no longer exist for their parents. Once they were every where, these classic gold watch institutions: railroads; post offices; telephone; gas; electricity. Places where the competitive landscape was sluggish, where roles were defined. The educated child became a loyal employee who could sit, read, write & add correctly - for thirty years.
Today's students are been civilised for an older civilisation than our own".
TV on the radio