Wednesday, April 18, 2012
In the movie ‘The Matrix’, super computers at the time had to run on batteries, and since human beings had more of a charge to them then your typical Ray o vac battery. So they farmed crops of humans who were kept alive by existing in a virtual world consisting of a nine to five grind in a cubicle and no stock options. And so humans thrived in their real and virtual cocoons, and as the machines figured from hard experience, they would have it no other way. (except for those few who wanted a different reality, and live in a cave and eat pea soup for the rest of their lives. These folks were called neo-phytes).
What with green energy and fracking, humankind has got this energy thing down for the time being. Although the battery problem is solved, the reality one persists, and that’s when the Matrix reenters, and in a good way if you like cubicles that is.
According the most prognosticators on the subject, computing power is trending to infinity. This is particularly good for app creators, who with all that infinite power can model not just Duke Nukem, but the Duke of Buckingham, the Duke, and even lowly you. Called an ancestor simulation by the Oxford University professor Nick Bostrom, Bostrom has surmised that if one of your descendents, and I mean just one, decides to emulate you to see what life was like in the 21st century, or perhaps get even with you for the mega trillions of national debt he has to pay back for your medicare, then very likely he can emulate just about everybody, and in every variation. In other words, if anybody in the future decides to run an ancestor simulation, then almost certainly YOU are living in the mind of a computer, and are a simulation! Even I cannot make this up, but ultimately I don’t need to if I am made up.
Well, back to my dream job………………….
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
If you want that dream job, dream date, or dream bank loan, it used to be that there was only a minimal amount of information you could cough up, and then you were sure it was carefully chosen to not reveal the embarrassing facts that if better known would send you packing or even packing off to jail. Presently, some employers are asking potential hires to hand over your password to your Facebook or other social media accounts so that your character, resume, personality, can be properly inspected. This controversy may be dampened by federal law, public outrage, or just saying no, but in the end it’s probably all moot, as your privacy has likely already escaped. There is plenty of stuff out there to embarrass you, only you don’t know it yet.
But you will.
Right now, if I wanted the scoop on a competitor, a friend, or the next door neighbor, I would have to do a laborious internet search, and then laboriously make some sense out of it. Not anymore! For the software tools we use from day to day, all that stuff can be brought to you automatically, whether you ask for it or not. Consider the common customer relationship management program. The CRM we use at our own company, called Capsule, instantly goes out and grabs all the social networking connections of any individual whose email you type in. So now you not only have their name but their ugly mug to look at, and instant access to their social networking connections that you never asked for in the first place. This is somewhat scary, for what this means that someone else who has that email can pull out all my social networking stuff and God knows whatever else is out there about my life. Of course, my life is as pristine as the driven winter snow (i.e. I am boring), but very likely yours is not. It used to be that only running for President would reveal your dirty laundry. Now your laundry is all over the place, so if I were you I’d watch your sox life among other things, or else create a fake facebook page!
In a phrase, the internet revolution may be summed up as a global movement, inspired by IT overlords to move our intelligence to machines while decreasing our intelligence by encouraging us to do mindless things. In other words, the internet is dumbing us UP and dumbing us DOWN.
His and Hers Google Glasses
A case in point are a new software tool that will allow us to be omniscient in a robotic Terminator sort of way, and a new software app that will help terminate our intelligence. The latest such boon to man or should I say peoplekind is called Google Glass, and brings Google two inches from your nose. The second, called Instagram, helps you make your pictures look old or otherwise crappy. Jon Stewart on the Daily Show recently took note of this. His take on it is worth a billion virtual dollars!
For those of us who remember the past, or when we had teeth, to learn about the latest good stuff you had merely to turn on Captain Kangaroo in the morning. Mr. Greenjeans was the family farmer who would daily bring warm and fuzzy creatures that we would want to adopt for some coin, an idea that was later replicated by the web app ‘Farmville’ and virtual bunnies, which can be purchased for some coin.
When bunnies were a ‘Best Buy’
Back then, you could feel and touch the bunnies close up before you made your buying decision, and the knowledgeable farmer was right there to answer any of your questions. Of course, now we have smart phone apps that can read the bar code on the bunnies, and allow you to find an identical bunny at the factory farm for far less money and a better bunny warranty. Naturally, this puts the family farmer out of business, and leaves your progeny wondering what bunnies are actually like. However, at least we have bunny user reviews.
Looking and feeling is a user experience that no amount of user reviews can replace. When shopping moves to the web and our brick and mortar stores close, we are losing something priceless. Presently, pricing apps promote judgment by hearsay rather than experience. So, we will miss our experience with cuddly bunnies, laptops, wide screen displays, hard bound books, and much more of what used to be called a shopping experience. And our bunnies, like everything else, will live somewhere disembodied in the cloud.