Monday, June 20, 2005

The only constant is change, dx/dt=c

The paradoxical title of this post was inspired by some conversations I had recently about adapting to the changes that technology hath wrought around us. Another impetus for the post is that book I have been waiting forever for, Accelerando by Charles Stross, is finally available as a free download, but you should also go buy it. His topic is three generations of a family living through a technological singularity (the article that started it all is here). Rather than bogging down in that discussion, let's just say that the singularity for the purposes of our discussion refers to the accelerating technological change around us making it harder and harder to make meaningful predictions about what business, culture, and technology itself will be like in the future. It also means it is harder to adapt to.

My parent's have adapted somewhat to the internet, they use e-mail, but they don't buy things online. I know members of that generation that were pretty savvy with such things but most are not. I know members of my own generation that don't know what a blog is (or more accurately don't care because it hasn't impacted there lives), but they do use the internet for all of the great things you can use it for. Obviously since I have a blog, I am trying to adapt. I certainly love my Treo 600, which is as good a symbol of the new technology as any I can think of.

My generation has been trained to expect change. I would like to think that means I have learned how to learn, so that I am ready for the new technology no matter what form it may take, but I am not so sure that if the pace of innovation increases, even my generation will be left behind. Case in point, I do not own a game system (I can hear the gasps). I do know that there is a whole generation growing up with the game culture paradigm inborn and that to understand them we need to speak that language. Do I get a game system for the ostensible reason of maintaining my technological edge (or is this a cop out because I need a high brow excuse to get one?).

Please don't take this as a rant about our disptopian future. I love all this new stuff. I especially love that last year's futuristic gadgets are always half price! I suppose that someday I will be left out of the accelerating pace of change. I wonder what the innovation will be that leaves me behind, and I wonder if it has been invented yet.

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