Real Progress

While a lot of people, my wife included, are discussing the current state of affairs in the world, I am a little more concerned with the future. While I might not be as extreme as Peter Thiel saying “I Don’t Consider [The iPhone] To Be A Technological Breakthrough” he does make a good point.

I have been reading a lot about Steve Jobs lately. I actually have to claim a free copy of the book from audible (if I did not miss the chance already.) On the excerpts that I have read though, he was not as much of an inventor but more of a tinkerer.

The part that troubles me is censorship. Sure, we might all have computers in our pockets, but are we going to get more information from them or less. Seriously, just follow the current SOPA noise and you will see that eventually we might be getting a lot less.

“The techno-ignorance of Congress was on full display. Member after member admitted that they really didn’t have any idea what impact SOPA’s regulatory provisions would have on the DNS, online security, or much of anything else,” said Adam Thierer, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center.[79] ” “One by one, each witness—including a lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America—said they weren’t qualified to discuss…DNSSEC”, CNET reported.

Edited information is not new… I mean all of our news sources are edited for content most of the time. True unfiltered information is hard to come by… but what if that extended to also the books you read. That is the conversation that DeGuia and I were just having.

The other part that makes me uncomfortable is that while innovation in today’s sense of the word might be creating convenience and comfort, it is really not creating new jobs. Not here in the US anyway.

Not sure how close we are to all being replace by robots or not, but I seriously think that we are being distracted by a lot of “issues” and not really looking into the future. Like Theil brings up we need to make progress when it comes to transportation, health and energy.

One Response to Real Progress

  1. I’ve thought much the same for the last decade: cars haven’t appreciably altered in the last 130 years. Neither has air transportation. Each “new” PC/iAnything is not advanced technology, per se, rather it’s simply the result of an increased gain in miniaturization combined with a heightened design esthetic.

    What I would consider technological breakthroughs would be, say, a car that got 200 mpg, both on the ground and in the air. Heuristic computers that did as asked – no more carpal tunnel- often before you asked it. A health care system that harvested human stem cells from every available source in order to prevent most diseases and repair damage done by the others, with a general focus on life extension. Work on building cheap, sustainable energy.

    These would be the first, doable baby steps toward real progress.

    Instead what you have is codified (not to say fossilized) status quos, each nurtured and protected by the ancillary industries grown up around them: Big Oil, Insurance companies, Windows/Apple, et alis…where the BIG money really is. And these industries (along with others – automotive, defense, etc etc) underlie and structure our economy, which tends to skew the value of these resources/industries. This is good and bad; good if you’re into utilities, municipals and bonds, bad if you are looking to transform your society. Much of what I noted as positive technological/social progress would impinge upon, perhaps irrevocably alter or totally render less powerful, the current status quos – a dog and his bone, n’est-ce pas?

    And we haven’t even mentioned the negative force of religion on change, have we?

    I can’t imagine being in the White House and trying to reorder all of this, can you?

    Anyhow, wake me when we get some real change, okay?

    ; ‘ )

    As to SOPA/Protect IP Act, we are in agreement – Congress can barely find its own ass (and then only because that’s where it keeps its wallet to stuff bribes into), much less regulate something as complex as the Innernetz. That doesn’t mean it won’t try…at the urging of some of those status quo folks…AT&T, The Baby bells, Verizon etc etc. Make your voice heard, over and over again. If not you might find you don’t have a voice any more.

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