Posts Tagged ‘future’
by adminadam in home
You only have one day to live. How do you spend your time?
What legacy or example do you leave behind in the form of pure enjoyment, your presence, and your oneness with others and the world around you? How do you say goodbye? For me being with the people I love would be my main priority.
If you only had one month what more could you do? What lasting impressions would you leave? What would you bestow upon people around you? I might try to mail some hand-written letters to folks I care about, for instance. Some apologies and some affirmations.
With a year perhaps you could finish some larger projects, or go on longer expeditions. I think I would do some good reading, write a will, and leave treasures spread about the Northwest, hidden in waiting for the adventuresome (see: geocachers) to find. I would also find uses for all my possessions and try not to leave too much of a mess behind when I depart.
What ambition drives you? What lasting change(s) could you insinuate into the world? How different a person might you be at the end of this time? And would your ambition carry through, through your own transitions and transformations? I assume that this is probably too long a timeframe on which to position or plant yourself firmly — even if you could somehow know that you were going to die after exactly ten years. Encroaching glaciers move not men like tigers do.
I feel that, just as in everyday life, the way you live and the way you make other people feel is the thing that will be best remembered. I don’t believe we are all destined to write amazing books or carve out timeless masterpieces, but with that said, one may become a Genius at something after ten years with a weekly investment of 20 hours (see: Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell), correct? Perhaps I could become a Virtuoso on the Trumpet given that amount of time…
If you were to master something, what would it be?
What could be passed down? What could remain intact for 100 years? I recently cleaned out my new Spanish classroom and found a Latin American Literature textbook from 1921. That will certainly last the remaining 7. In fact, I think I’ll keep it forever. Such things are like gold to me — the foundations of future history.
For you, is there anything in your possession that you would want preserved (or alternatively, anything you’d want used until it is used up)?
I once tossed a mini-time capsule into the woods when I was 13. It contained some trinkets and coins, wrapped and packaged in multiple boxes of various materials, wood and stone, taped up with duct-tape, and sealed in a jar. Someday perhaps it will surface to someone’s surprise and amusement. “What for save these pennies and nickels? Silly ancestors…” Or perhaps: “Wow, thanks for the treasure!”.
The other matter to consider here is: Might I actually still be alive in 100 years? I know that insurance companies commonly assume that death rates will “decline 1 percent a year” (see: Predicting How Long You’ll Live). Also, seeing as a hand-full of folks have already lived past 120, is it so unlikely that some from my generation might see 130, or perhaps 140? And although this is perhaps a disturbing thing to consider, as we’ve only ever known people of such advanced years to be incapacitated in various ways (and/or decrepit), what if our medicine allowed us to live productively for significantly greater portions of this time? This would most certainly alter the legacy-making potential of individuals such as yourself. (See my post on Actuarial Escape Velocity, a.k.a. “The Methuselarity”, for more on this.)
For now, assuming most people would be dead, is there anything you would want the world 100 years hence to have? Or any message you would want them to hear? Maybe I would want to plant a forest…
One Millennium (and Beyond):
Not many human structures would survive this expanse of time. Many things would be subsumed, corroded, or broken-up. What could we save? What could we pass down that would have a fighting chance of surviving? Are there any movements that we could take part in that would carry on? Any cultural fires we could try and keep fueled? Bronze sculptures apparently could last up to 10 million years.
What about our messages to other civilizations? Our transmissions will expand out into the cosmos forever. Are there any positive messages to send? Have we in fact, sent out anything of value, either in terms of insights into ourselves or invitations to connect and understand each other?
The answer is a resounding Yes. The first was the Arecibo Message sent in 1974. It contained the following information and was designed by Carl Sagan, Frank Drake (of the famous “Drake Equation”), and others:
- The numbers one (1) to ten (10)
- The atomic numbers of the elements hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus, which make up deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
- The formulas for the sugars and bases in the nucleotides of DNA
- The number of nucleotides in DNA, and a graphic of the double helix structure of DNA
- A graphic figure of a human, the dimension (physical height) of an average man, and the human population of Earth
- A graphic of the Solar System
- A graphic of the Arecibo radio telescope and the dimension (the physical diameter) of the transmitting antenna dish
For a complete history of the messages we have sent into space, including (surprise!) a Doritos advertisement sent towards a nearby (read: 42 light years away) solar system in Ursa Major, see New Scientist’s “Earth calling: A short history of radio messages to ET“.
Some of the more affirming and beautiful things include the following messages sent towards Gliese 581d, one of the wettest (read: H20) and lightest exoplanets so far discovered as part of Cosmos’ Hello from Earth campaign:
Smile :) Humans are naive and fragile. We are not evolved to understand everything. We are children in a vast and mysterious universe.
– Tommy, Adelaide, Australia
We come in peace. If you are out there, please respond. We want to be friends. We are all different and we can’t wait to meet you! From the children of Earth.
– Class4M, Castle Cove Public School, Australia
All our petty disputes, disagreements and wars fade into insignificance when we consider our tiny world’s place in the cosmos.
– Silvio Zarb, Melbourne, Australia
What do you see when you look up into the sky? Do you feel small and lonely, just like us? From now on, I can assure you one thing: you are not alone. Be happy.
– Sergio Camalich, Hermosillo, Mexico
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.
– John Xavier, Chicago, United States
If you know the meaning of life, please send it to us. If not, let’s celebrate together anyway! Thanks in advance, from a curious carbon-based life form!
– Monica Echagen, Barcelona, Spain
Apparently Australia is the top country sending these out. (Good for you guys!)
At the very least — even if we cannot hope to build pyramids, bronze statues, or more monuments like Mt. Rushmore — we can live well and send out our positive thoughts to the universe. Perhaps someday we’ll get a response..!
As for you, what good signals and vibrations would you have transmitted? What great gifts would you give to the future?
by adminadam in videos
Do you close the curtains at night? Do you have deep and fascinating intimate conversations? Do you make jokes sometimes that you most certainly wouldn’t make if you knew strangers were listening? Do you pick and choose your friends carefully? Do you use caution when you write emails, knowing the connection isn’t secure? Do you whisper sweet nothings to your dearest love?
I say: whether you are an Upstanding Citizen (i.e. “nothing to hide”) or a Dissent-is-Patriotic type, the following video should give you some good food for thought.
The video below, from 1981, shows newspapers embracing the early internet to share text-only papers with tech-savvy (at the time) readers on their home computers.
I love how the dial-up modem requires that the rotary phone handset be placed on top of it before connecting — and just the fact that the computer owner is introduced with “owns home computer”!
My first experience with the internet was at least 10 years after this, around 1992, on a Mac II (with AOL 2.0), which cost $5,500 in 1987 when it first came out! Here is a picture of one:
AND HERE’S WHAT COMPUTERS AND THE INTERNET WERE LIKE IN 1981…
We sure have come a long ways in 30 years! I wonder what it will be like in another 32 years — 2045? They say the Singularity is supposed to hit us by then, so maybe we’ll store all our data in our DNA and share images telepathically and fly around with antigravity nanobots! I’ll bet few of us could have predicted back in the day that we’d all carry around these communicators which are constantly connected to the internet and act as video/audio/telegraph phones with 1 million personal secretary apps that track our every movement and remind us of what we need to do all the time! Yeah? I thought not!
by adminadam in videos
Efforts to fight piracy and limit computer functionality converge on malware/spyware being pre-installed on every machine that ships. As an example, Intel has teamed up with video streaming services in the design of their new Sandy Bridge chips, which will supposedly allow for only DRM content to be streamed in HD. (Not that you have to utilize DRM-ladden content; you can find and play things in HD on your own still, but it’s the beginning of a larger trend — i.e. cars that can be remotely shut down, iPhones whose cameras turn off at the request of the authorities, etc.)
This trend is most disturbing in particular in regimes where the populace is not media-literate enough to get around these restrictions, unlike in wealthy, western countries where we can assume, as always, someone will find a way to hack into it (or out of it). [Maybe these people: ccc.de?]
Doctorow refers to all of our iThings and other increasingly restricted forms of hardware as Appliances, but what they are, he goes on to elucidate, are general purpose computers that ship with malware inside. With SOPA and all this copyright mess what we are seeing is just the first battle of the war on general purpose computing.
by adminadam in poetry
If only I could type it in a crisper way than this
to spell out why I try and play
a buffer-role and sit
guessing at the aspirations,
how to curb chance-machinations
of our absurd, undeterred techno-globalization.
This age for cheap is offering
to keep open the gate
the flood of infotainment
acting less like food than bait
only certain spaces in which we can feed and wait.
A storm gathers just off horizon
its soundless thunder rumbles
its dark clouds heavy glint of gold,
but what rocks it holds would care
to serenely come and tumble down
on heads that do not glance around?
From this we will need shelter or at least a wary mind…
So it is that I and accompanying allies strain and scrutinize,
future-wise puzzle-piecing new maps to help us navigate a world
brimming full of bullshit and apparently-free crap.
A legacy we hope to leave
(my part albeit incomplete)
to guide those unborn future flocks of man and
the info-shocked, sadly-vision-blocked souls living
who may yet know to use discretion sometimes
in keeping open for too long their minds for just a dime.
All of us, don’t we need sound notification on the nature of
our own bloating meta-predatory creation?
It seems something is waiting to snatch up idle ripe minds
to be its bio-platforms, do its ghostly calculations,
become its meme-arrays and unknowing-slaves…
The risk is if we end up biting every byte we see
(we think this data-lunch is free)
effectively lambs feeding from its trap we will be!
Digitally-versed, the buffers’ and shepherds’ work
is to clear a path wide enough for sheep to skirt temptation,
to keep them away from the ever-swelling impulse-inertia,
their desire for satiation
that leads them to trough in underheated isolated chambers
from which all but pre-made thought can escape un-rearranged.
Beware these rains inside will fall
black stones straight through the roof,
and the sheep who do not hear the call,
those too media-jacked-in and enthralled,
will be submerged and drown aloof.
As Karl Jaspers wrote: “The human being is an open possibility, incomplete and incompletable. Hence it is always more and other than what he has brought to realisation in himself.” Nevertheless, it is our responsibility to try imagining what that human being could be at the next stage of its history.
p.234 – The Evolving Self, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Beyond Self-Actualization is of course Transcendence, which is easiest to conceptualize as the light outside of the self into which the self dissolves… Symbols are unsatisfactory at this point, suffice it to say that the non-dual awareness of the unity in the cosmos which one may or may not attempt to reach or enter into is ____________________. < Just indescribable > What we can say is that for those unique souls that can and often do make a habit of self-actualizing – it is to you that Transcendence is most accessible and Enlightenment most tantalizingly close! … And we do hope that you stick around and help brighten up the place here a bit before you depart. : )
by adminadam in prose
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
by Harlan Ellison
Limp, the body of Gorrister hung from the pink palette; unsupported—hanging high above us in the computer chamber; and it did not shiver in the chill, oily breeze that blew eternally through the main cavern. The body hung head down, attached to the underside of the palette by the sole of its right foot. It had been drained of blood through a precise incision made from ear to ear under the lantern jaw. There was no blood on the reflective surface of the metal floor.
When Gorrister joined our group and looked up at himself, it was already too late for us to realize that, once again, AM had duped us, had had its fun; it had been a diversion on the part of the machine. Three of us had vomited, turning away from one another in a reflex as ancient as the nausea that had produced it.
Gorrister went white. It was almost as though he had seen a voodoo icon, and was afraid of the future. “Oh, God,” he mumbled, and walked away. The three of us followed him after a time, and found him sitting with his back to one of the smaller chittering banks, his head in his hands. Ellen knelt down beside him and stroked his hair. He didn’t move, but his voice came out of his covered face quite clearly.
“Why doesn’t it just do us in and get it over with? Christ, I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this.”
It was our one hundred and ninth year in the computer.
He was speaking for all of us.
Nimdok (which was the name the machine had forced him to use, because AM amused itself with strange sounds) was hallucinating that there were canned goods in the ice caverns. Gorrister and I were very dubious. “It’s another shuck,” I told them. “Like the goddam frozen elephant AM sold us. Benny almost went out of his mind over that one. We’ll hike all that way and it’ll be putrified or some damn thing. I say forget it. Stay here, it’ll have to come up with something pretty soon or we’ll die.”
Benny shrugged. Three days it had been since we’d last eaten. Worms. Thick, ropey.
Technology needs a soul injection.
Who’s gonna pay the price?
Technology needs a soul installation.
Who’s gonna pay with their life?
If we’re gonna talk about planting chips into our brains,
then first we’d really better talk about who’s using who…
’cause to me it seems an awful lot like tech is using you.
QUERIES AND QUESTIONS
→ → → → → → → → ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒
Fast Forward and we can see our souls being diluted…
⇐ ⇐ ⇐ ⇐ ⇐ ⇐ ⇐ ⇐ ← ← ← ← ← ← ← ←
Which way are we really moving? Everything has been distorted.
↔ ↔ ↔ ↔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ↔ ↔ ↔ ↔
I’ve heard technology referred to as the 7th Kingdom of Life, read a book called “What Technology Wants”, and it got me thinking that we’d better ask ourselves what we want.
Because even though inventions beg and beg and beg to be invented, we’re the ones that decide in the end how it will be. And just like, say, with an Empire or a Nation, with any Kingdom we must always ask whether it’s got any soul, or even one bit or strand of moral fiber at all. So, does it? — Is this kingdom not lacking in soul?
And this we must continue to ask, because the (empty) Kingdom will, lacking any noble purpose, crumble from trying too quickly to build itself up to greater heights. And if it is truly a Kingdom of Life, then we probably don’t want it to fall at all…
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