social media, Technology, Uncategorized

In the Halls of Smoke and Mirrors

Let’s cut to the chase, we know that technology changes society. The idea of disruptive innovation has been around for a while but while – that being that innovations disrupt markets is not carried over to the idea that technology also disrupts society seems to be glossed over as a cost of business.  Yet as technology continues to change the parameters of our existence, it doesn’t seem to take into account the human cost which, as long as we cannot profit from it (yet) can either not be measured or be something to be concerned with. But how are we to go on when all the guideposts we were given have been bleached out by the ever-increasing glare of technology. We try to order our life by rituals by moments in time that we attach importance no longer seem to matter. Growing up we were taught that certain things were important, having dinner together as a family, a basic connection to one another,  and a common agreement as to what was important. However, technology seems to have erased our past like footsteps in the sand. While my childhood weekends were spent outside riding my bike to a friends house, playing games with the neighborhood kids coming home only when the street lights came on at night.

Today, my kids spend their weekends in their rooms glued to their screens, watching life as opposed to living it. Friends are spoken to online, no need for face to face interactions. The ideas some of us may have been raised with have now become quaint museum pieces. A job isn’t something that you have for life, there is no 40-year watch on your retirement any more (I still have my grandfather’s watch given to him on his retirement) but it has become a transitory relationship, a landing point till something else comes along. Friends are not people but clicks on Facebook pages. Why experience something when we can see it from the safety of our room- as there are no new frontiers, at least we can watch the reruns of the old ones.

And yet, how are we to understand this recreated world when we find ourselves lost in a hall of mirrors, where all our maps have become obsolete. We cant raise our children to hope for a better life than what we had as everything is so different we don’t know what is to come. We dare not put a value on anything for the future may convert our diamonds into handfuls of dust. What else to explain this old white man rage, this shaking fist at a furious rate of change that could leave them in a cloud of irrelevance. Our octagenarian leaders sit wag their double chins at the marvels that the computer age has brought, both creating and destroying. Media brings us a constant barrage of dystopian messages only serve as a signal of the old orders distrust of the future and the loss of their value. Hopefully, that marking will too fall by the wayside like a bleached out road sign in the desert.

lady from shanghi

What do you do when the future looks nothing like your past



The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled

Remember, Keyser Söze in The Usual Suspects says, ‘The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, he’s gone.’ In the same way, the best way to get something you value from someone else is to convince the person who owns it that it has no value. We have seen this reign supreme in the information sector, calling our information “data exhaust” while that same data is mined, repackaged, sold and used to dangle carrots in our face to keep us on a consumer treadmill. Just when it seems this was the extent of our self-endorsed exploitation, the cloven hooves on the doorstep announce yet deeper exploitation of our data and us. No, while the entire idea of capitalism is based on the exploitation of resources, these were considered natural resources- coal, wood, steel, etc. Now with the advent of the new media, a new fertile ground has been found to be exploited. Not just our so-called, data exhaust, which is mined like a precious metal to create a feedback loop to feed us exactly what we expect to see and what it is decided that we need. Not to be content with this level of exploitation, it now seems that when we take a DNA test even that data is being siphoned off to curate our curiosity and life experiences. Deep in the language of the agreement can be buried your tacit approval for your information to be used, shared and exploited in any way. This would allow insurance companies, give you a preferred status due to a perceived “pure” genetic background is pure enough to warrant can drop you because of what is in your genetic background promote you to a preferred status or even convict you of a crime.
Perhaps, while ignorance will not bring bliss but divorce may be our only hope, not in some Luddite revolution but in a conscious choice a conscious digital uncoupling where our privacy and digital dignity is more important than sharing what we had for lunch.

Digital Dignity, ignorance is bliss, conscious digital uncoupling, Luddite revolution, privacy, digital dignity, pure genetic background, eugenics, DNA, DNA testing, precious metals, feedback loop, self-endorsed exploitation, new media, data exhaust, Keyser Söze, The Usual Suspects, The Devil,

internet, Uncategorized

The truth shall….

As my friend and mentor, Father Charlie is fond of reminding me, the saying isn’t, “The truth shall set you free” but that “The truth shall make you whole”. That idea of the power of Truth or truth is something that kept coming back to me as I read, Marcus Wohlsen’sBiopunk, DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life” for as fascinating and disturbing as the idea of the next great step forward in biological science would not come from a pharmaceutical company or a university but from people “hacking” biology in their own kitchens, garages and, in one case, walk-in closets. If information is the same as truth then perhaps it really will make us whole. It seems that there is an entire network of DIY scientist hacks working in such complex fields as gene splicing, genetic testing and more. It seems that our next major innovation in medicine may not come from the university or the major drug company but from people creating a cancer drug in their kitchen. As we give people greater and greater access to information, hopefully, we also liberate their imagination and ability to create a world vaster than what we have known. We have all heard the story of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak creating Apple in their garage and transforming the world. Who will be the next Edward Jenner or Antonie van Leeuwenhoek who creates the next wonder drug or engineer the next stage of human development? As Shaw said, youth is wasted on the young and perhaps our resources are squandered on the large institutions that have more interest in maintaining their own status quo than reshaping the world and the way we live in it. Honestly, how does a pink ribbon cure breast cancer or is simply raising our awareness of it all that we care to do? We can be aware of ethnic cleansing in the world but a ribbon or pin will not change that reality. Perhaps our current paradigm is supporting the truth but our information share will make us whole. If ever there were a time for free flow of information it seems it must happen now lest we are left strong in symbolism and weak in action. I believe it is our action that will make us whole.



Who Moved my Facebook?

As the namesake of this blog might suggest I have a certain interest in media and more to the point the so-called social media or new media. It was with the certain irrational of a man my age that I saw that Instagram is now becoming popular than Facebook and will in the future take over as the dominant social media tool. It’s not so much that I have a fondness for Facebook (I don’t) or that I do have a fondness for Instagram (I don’t) but rather that I am not looking forward to getting to know a new media outlet. With the thoughts of Moore’s law (that new technology, like a mythological snake, keeps devouring or reinventing itself every two years or so) in my head I think to myself, enough is enough. Can’t I just settle into a technology and work with it for some time. Has a younger generation become addicted to change just as an older generation may have done much to justify addictions to smoking or segregation. Has this acceptance become overpowering for those of us who just aren’t ready for the Moore tidal wave of change. Will change become its own virtue with nothing being as good as what will come next or will we simply run out of options the impossible exhaustion of the possible where time has ceased to keep everything from happening at once for everything has happened or we are drowned in a flood of every changing media.





Is this the information that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium?

A few years ago I was interested to hear about a court argument regarding funding of the public schools in New York City. It was finally determined that the job of a school was to give enough education by the end of high school that a student would be able to make informed decisions enough to engage in the voting process. I think of that now with the free flow of information available on the internet and I wonder what is the purpose of all this available information or is there one? Are we making all this data available for no reason at all or just because we can. It seemed that once educations purpose was for the betterment of ones self and by extension all human kind. Is our new media revolution for the same purpose or have we become Faustian in our scope and find ourselves using this new technology for mere parlor tricks?