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“Bock Bock Bock”

NOTE: I have to add that I have really struggled with this article more than any other article on this site.  This file to this article has sat on my desktop, mocking me, asking when I would finish.  This article may not seem like much, but was pieced together over the period of the last month as my hectic schedule allowed.

I talk a lot of revolution on this blog, on how things are going to change, and I have hope, for the better.  It seems, sometimes, when I get talking about a subject the ball seems to roll in that direction for me.  Stories will pop up about the subject I was writing about and new thoughts will come to mind.  When I set down my thoughts on a CNN article, more articles about said subject came up.  This trend did not change when I wrote about 3D Printing.  Shortly after an article about the bigger implications, this new technology would have on the world.

Every time new technology comes along that streamlines work, there are certain people who resist because of job securities…and yet, how many construction workers today would be willing to work without power tools or vehicles? If the goal were to employ more people, why not just take these things away? Technology always comes…and this is exciting technology indeed.

–       Mikeanglo

Home building ‘will come back’. This is a wonderful idea, 100% agree however, as the video states, this ONE machine takes away at least 10 specialized professions if not more, eventually this wonderful technology will result in ONE THING (surplus population). What to do with the MASSIVE inequallity that would/will result. Everyone can’t be a ‘programmer’ or ‘business owner’ – wouldn’t ppl have 2 DIE eventually? Does basic things like FOOD become free or something? Ppl need Jobs dont they?

–       year2044

Hmm… Great idea but not convinced that replacing construction workers with a single machine is really the way to help a local community. “Give someone a fish and they’ll feed themselves for a day. Give someone a net and teach them how to fish and they’ll feed their family for a lifetime.” Rapid prototyping on an epic scale is interesting though.

–       pashley26

Where is humanity in that? We can genetically modify almost everything, we can even Google babies (blue eyes, blond, athletically built). Is this where we end, A Robot? You can’t CNC/3D print Happiness of a craftsman. The pleasure of making that joy that liveliness of being human using our hands our heart and brain. Why don’t we just jack ourselves to a machine and have our surrogates do the living.

Why don’t we look for the cause of poverty and try to attack the roots of this problem.

–       mamalijoon

It seems we have this when any disruption comes to life.  Throughout history, the things that improve life are met with resistance because it will mean a negative for someone.  We have all the “Safety First” and “For the kids” type scream and scream for change, but when change is made that they want, impacts that are negatives for those who yell “For the children” all of a sudden becomes secondary.  Blind leading the blind, may sound cliché, but the truth is stranger than fiction.  We live in a world where people will demand something without ever thinking of what that change will means in cost.  Moreover, by cost I just do not mean monetarily, I mean the affects that change will truly bring in terms of community and the bigger picture of humanity.

I saw this first hand driving a truck.  Even though a few short years ago, I was caught in the crossfire of driving a big thing of environmental destruction.  This led to laws that limited the times I could run the engine, because every minute the engine runs that is a minute the earth’s protection layer (ozone) is depleted.  Never mind the data that had been collected and provided that says letting a diesel engine run is better for the environment, then constantly stopping and starting it.  Now that could be debated, as it was, what always got me was the argument of safety.  It was deemed over many years of arguing that a driver needed set hours, because tired drivers were killing people.  Yet in certain states and certain cities, I was not allowed to run my engine to supply myself heat during the hours I was required to rest.  This included nights when it was 40 degrees out, when lack of sleep is the cost of freezing temperatures.

That period of my working career taught me one thing; sometimes little thought of consequence goes into things that are supposed to help us.  Good or bad, it seems change comes without much thought towards what the outcome will be.  As long as someone’s complaint is satisfied, as long as the squeaky wheel is silenced then the change is justified.  This kind of recklessness de-legitimizes real complaints and shows little thought goes into the process.

Yes, it is harsh to say that but history bares this to be true.  Technology and innovation always disrupt first.  Technology in many forms is invented to solve problems, but some will not like the problems they solve because it always encompasses more.  We always have calls for safer work environments, shorter workdays; what is coming will bring that reality.  However, because we think short term the change will be met with apprehension and possibly violence.   If a machine can simply print a building, layer by layer in less time then labor, less cost and with near 100% safety the effects on humanity are immeasurable.  Overnight the world changes…

But of course who foots the bill?

And that is always the question someone always asks.  A decade ago that question would have been more legitimate.  But now we are heading towards a reality where scarcity is becoming solely artificial.  In the world of entertainment (Books, TV, Music, etc.) this reality is shown, there is no longer a need for a physical format that limits those realities.  I can simply transfer a file to someone and never lose the original.   The entertainment industries are in freefall because the walls they setup to create scarcity no longer exist.  Moreover, there lies the ultimate question; What happens when you remove those constraints on the necessities of life.  What happens when food and shelter is no longer a commodity that is tangible and controllable?  What happens when energy is abundant and not constrained by the realities we place on it now?  What happens when cars drive themselves?  What happens when education is not bound by a building and teachers in the sense we know it to be?

Every day I am confronted by stories of new breakthroughs.  One day it is printing organs, the next its printing food.  Whether we like what is about to come or not, change is unavoidable.   Where as in the past people may have huddled together to make sure the benefit was mutual, we are entering a time where the disruptive have no alliances and no cares towards others.  They want to disrupt and they want to change the world.  And I would dare venture that this rare breed, does not care about monetary gain or power but instead freedom.  They want a freedom that allows them to play with their toys and discover new things without the hindrances of the past.

But what confronts me over and over again is the naysayers, the “Chicken Littles” who deride change as not their kind of change.  We always hear about the “good old days,” from age, but how many of us ever think about what those days were truly like?  Yes, my grandfather walked 200 miles to school and fought a grizzly bear for his notebook, both of which will mean some unborn child will never know the value of the strong man balancing the moon on his pinky.

On a side note: I think He-Man is the greatest cartoon ever because I grew up with it.

I do not write this to say that change is automatically good, but change should be weighed and balanced with careful thought.  What we cannot outrun, or escape, is that disruptive change is coming.  It is going to force us to answer questions we rather not answer.    It is going to cause knee-jerk reactions.  Many of the ways we think about day-to-day life will be forever changed.  Change is not new, but the kind of rapid-fire change we are seeing now is not going to allow for breathing room.  That lack of oxygen is going to be gasoline for many to remain the status quo.

As they say change never comes easy…

Look up to the sky, tis a falling sky I see said one poultry to the other…

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Technology

 

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Those that wait…

One of the sites on my daily read list is techdirt.  At home, on my desktop, I use a program called FeedDemon to read my daily news, on the go I have Pulse for my phone.  I simply take the site suggestions that the programs give me or plug in my own RSS links and the program by schedule delivers the new posts on each site for my reading consumption.  In many ways you could say these programs are my newspaper.

I don’t think I’m alone in saying I grew up with newspapers.  My father had a subscription to a local paper and every day, whether before school or after I would read the paper.  I remember the touch, feel and look of the paper.  There is something nostalgic to those memories.  I think it would be safe to say reading the newspaper was sort of an institution, something passed down to every generation to be enjoyed.  But then something interesting happened, the Internet was born.  And over the course of it’s beginnings it would change a lot of things.  None the least was the newspaper institution.

While slow to start as soon as the Internet starting gaining public acceptance gaming and tech(nology) news sites starting popping up.  In the mid-90s these sites were the counter-culture to print media.  They offered up to the minute real time content that couldn’t be matched in print.  And so in turn print magazines started falling to wayside finding it difficult to transition to this new reality.  The interesting turn of events was that print media didn’t know what to do with open freedom the Internet gave people.  Instead of the control the old media once had, things were more open and in turn brought competition.  Instead of people being slave to print and what an editor wanted to present to the public, print was turning into obsolete news the minute it was printed.

The other interesting thing was how print media couldn’t figure out how to deal with unlimited advertising.  Whereas print had the confining options of space where advertising could be put, online media had the opposite problem, boundless advertising.  Which as many know, and have seen, many sites still don’t have a grasp on.  And this isn’t the only problem.

Newspapers only serve up news that serves them and their interests.  One thing I don’t think I will ever turn to a newspaper for is tech and gaming news.  It is one of the reasons I gave up on the nightly news.  I’m not looking to be fed only things that those in a news room care about but my interests also.  And while one could argue this is the way it’s always been, I question why?  The problem lies right before us, that newspapers haven’t changed with the times and thus are loosing their impact on daily lives.  And in doing so have let others fill in gaps not realizing they are now the future of the media and leaving the old guard to the wayside.  One of the big positives going for newspapers is local news and with the rise of blogs even that hat they could hang their head on is evaporating.

Newspapers are now trying to save themselves by locking themselves down and as techdirt pointed out it’s a failing proposition:

I’ve spent years detailing why these kinds of paywalls don’t work. The short version is that for most newspapers, they just can’t sign up enough users to make it worthwhile. But, more importantly, paywalls actually make the paper less valuable. That’s because lots of people these days read news as part of a collaborative process, in which they want to share what they’re reading via things like Twitter and Facebook. Setting up a paywall makes that a lot harder and a lot more annoying. That makes those publications a lot less valuable in general to readers who can no longer share. On top of that, the paywall shrinks the visits and page views drastically, cutting off the (growing) online advertising opportunities.
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120302/04174217945/dear-big-newspapers-keep-putting-up-silly-paywalls-clear-internet-field-us-newcomers.shtml

The other thing to point out is that as time goes by newspapers are losing the opportunity to control the last advantage they have: To control the reading experience.  This is same for the book industry.  One of the biggest arguments against new technology is experience.  Those who don’t care for technology and e-readers often say it doesn’t feel right, doesn’t look right.  Even ignoring the positives (unlimited books in a small package) their argument is starting to lose flavor because of the industry ignoring those things that could have saved them.

About three years ago I was turned onto e-ink technology.

I looked at a couple videos like this and one my first thoughts was how this could be used for books and newspapers.  Imagine a device that you could folder up and carry with you that would be update it’s content on demand.  Newspapers and books could be reborn with this kind of technology and it isn’t to say they won’t, but have they?  Just to satisfy curiosity I looked up the new developments on e-ink and flexible displays and found these:

Instead this is what is being introduced to a whole new generation of readers:

Amazon Kindle

And there lies the problem, the old media is now losing the last thing that could save it.  Now this isn’t to say it doesn’t have a chance to sway public opinion, but as this information revolution continues the public is becoming used to the new ways of life.  Because of waiting, fear and non-understanding of the current changes, the public is becoming accustomed to consuming their media in new ways that will become the new standards coming out of this revolution.  By standing by the side, not influencing change and hoping things will stay the same, new standards are aloud to take control thus helping to continue the irrelevance and downfall of the old.  And the locking down of content is only accelerating this end conclusion.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Technology

 

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