Sunday, December 18, 2011

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams

So:  The future is weird.  Think about it.  We live in the future of the year 1995, and you had no conception in 1995 that AIM would evolve into Twitter, that the space shuttle would die out, that the American military would routinely use robot aircraft for military strikes.  That all those housing developments would trigger a global financial meltdown.  That so much of our lives would be lived on the internet.  That Tunisia would spark revolutions across the Arab world.  That we would have an African-American president.  That macs would become cool.

But the origins of all those events (and more!) must have been there already in the world of 1995.  Although some of them were unthinkable at the time, simple evolution of that world brought us to now.  Some steps were drastic; some chaotic; some even random; but on the whole all the ideas and all the actions that bridge the years of human history are encoded in the lives and worlds of we who live it.

History is based on inferences upon an incomplete knowledge.  So is future-history.  Our conception of the next five or five-hundred years is a story we tell ourselves, extrapolating from what we know about the past and what is happening now.  And, given the level of complexity in the world at large, that story is always wrong.

Of course, it's still fun to think about it.  At some level, every surprising event will make some sense when you dig into it: and all the keys to the mystery of the future are around us already.

That's why, no matter how weird the future is, the present is even weirder.

I'll use this space to talk about curious and interesting events in technology, science, society, ethics, and the arts.  I hope you'll all enjoy my musings, and join in a conversation about where our world is going and what we think about that.

thanks for reading!

"It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream." Edgar Allan Poe

(disclaimer:  I will be using the word 'physics' occasionally in this blog.  My legal team* has informed me that I need to tell you this to prevent myself from liability in the case of nausea, heart attacks, or mild brainwork among my readership.  Don't worry about the p-word.  Even if you, like, hated it in high school and the teacher was such a dweeb: physics is an attempt to robustly predict the future, which is cool.)

*Law firm of Juniper Steele & associates

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