/m/e/t/a/ on Thu, 23 Mar 2000 11:11:51 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] shift

As the old barriers separating work and home life dissolve, work gets diffused
throughout the whole of life. New cultural trends reflecting this fact are
already emerging, and something else may be beginning, too: a different way of
thinking, one that doesn't require long uninterrupted periods of time but
instead mirrors the quicksilver shift of the images on a computer screen.

History might look back at something called 'Silicon Valley Human' and
recognize it as the prototype for a slightly but distinctly different human
being, one that uses its brain in an entirely new way and whose cultural habits
reflect a fundamental environmental shift.

Any time a species evolves, something is gained and something is lost. The
question is, what are those things, and how will they change the way people


Maybe, like a nation of absent-minded professors who've finally found the
perfect assistants to mind the details, we'll dump all our petty concerns into
a Palm Pilot (or something like it) and, free at last to pursue poetry,
philosophy and higher math, get down to the serious business of thinking. The
computer will alert us when it's time to address one of the petty concerns, and
humankind will evolve into a nobler version of itself.

OK, maybe that's optimistic. But here's the sad truth about the matter:
whatever it is that will arrive in the coming generations is not really worth
fearing, because it will be cloaked in normalcy soon enough. And whatever it is
that will be lost in the coming generations is not really worth lamenting,
because shortly no one will miss it, and one may as well not be too precious
about something doomed.

The anthropologists know how to put it into perspective.

"We're in a time of transition," says Chuck Darrah. "We don't know how it's
going to shake out yet. How long does it take for things to change? The simple
answer to that is 'however long it takes the last generation to die out.'"


Research presented at the conference predicted that between one-third and
two-thirds of all plants and animals -- most of them in the tropics -- will die
during the second half of this century. If current trends continue, only 5
percent of the earth's tropical forests will remain by the year 2050, the data

The loss would equal that of the last major extinction at the end of the
Cretaceous Period and the Mesozoic Era, when the last of the dinosaurs died


Perhaps it's the malleability of code that makes some programmers, especially
free software programmers, so optimistic that they can fix things, that
problems are solvable, that a solution is always waiting to be found. Software
can be fixed. Programmers live in a world where reality can be shaped according
to their will -- all they have to do is write another line of code.


Nettime-bold mailing list