Brian: Lots of good points. But, as you and I have discussed many times, I think we're just now at the midpoint of the information information revolution.
Much as the Roman (Persian?) roads signaled the midpoint of the agricultural revolution and the Model T ford the midpoint of the industrial revolution, so the iPhone (Blackberry, Android) heralds that we've crossed the midpoint of the information revolution and are sliding into the next twenty or thirty years of it until the biological revolution takes hold.
The thing about the second half of these revolutions is that technology (roads, steel, silicon), as you say, becomes mundane enough that it impacts the vast citizenry. We shift from a way of life that is less focused on technology development than it is on consumerism.
The mass production of the Model T Ford leads rather directly to suburbanization and the disintegration of the nuclear family - blame Henry Ford for the high divorce rate! Who could have foreseen that?
I think we're entering a decade of mass virtualization of the real world onto the Internet. And somewhere in that contiguity of the Internet of Things and the Semantic Web our world changes forever.
I do not know if all of this is a good thing or a bad thing. I'm from an older generation and it is easy for me to unplug. My adult children, not nearly so much. But there's no escaping it. I think a compelling argument has already been made that those who can best utilize this technology will outstrip their peers. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer at times like these.
I think the flaw in human evolution that ultimately takes us into the biological revolution is our inability to multi task well. As knowledge doubles every year and as more and more of the real world becomes ubiquitously, virtually available 24/7 via the Internet we will have to find a way to deal with all of this.
Thank you, God, for these opposable thumbs!
Reading Super Sad True Love Story gives a glimpse into what our world could look like in 40-ish years. Certainly made me check myself a little, making an effort to scale back the constant updating/emailing/IMing/facebooking.
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We were made to talk to each other, not thumb at each other. SO I agree that we are in the beginning of a social era and walking on all fours grunting sounds, throwing "like" switches and making remote videos our communications of choice. When technology progresses so that speech recognition with machines becomes natural in ANY language and machines will talk back with human-like voice qualities with INTELLIGENCE, life will become much simpler. Apple's Siri and Intel's Nikiski based on Windows 8 are baby steps for the upcoming "talk as a you walk" era.
two things stand out:
1. SNAP...IT'S GOING DOWN! there is no turning back.
2.Software may provide the filters we will need to focus on preset criteria, discern what is "critical" as "multi tasking" 24/7!
There IS no turning back, and marimba ring tones have displaced the serene in all of us: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/11/new-york-philharmonic-interrupted-by-chimes-mahler-never-intended/?scp=1&sq=mahler&st=cse
We are the Borg...resistance if futile...like us on Facebook. No thanks. We have reached a point where we simply do not need or want a lot of the so called innovations. 3D TV? I can't stand every movie being in 3D why would I want everything on my TV to be that way?
@drewlanza, so fantastic to see your name! (Which reminds me to have lunch with you this year!).... outstanding points. I think as humans we always struggle with evolution. I would much prefer the Drew Lanza across the table than the Drew Lanza on FB, Twitter or wherever, although, that Drew Lanza has value too. I like to think that the human connection will never be severed, but around the holidays it's unsettling to see a roomful of 20-somethings (cousins, brothers, sisters) hunched over their laptops or mobile phones connecting somewhere outside of the room. To Nic's point: there is no turning back.