Technology will live their own lives

October 17, 2011 9:37

This meeting was a double, we waited more than anyone else. At sunset, one of the hottest days in August in Los Angeles, we sat in the nearly empty restaurant, and awaited the appearance of one of the most influential couples in history: Alvin and Heidi Toffler.

 Perhaps they are now, and 80 years old, but take a copy of the most famous books Toffler — "Future Shock" (1970) and "The Third Wave" (1980) — and you will soon start to wonder why anyone would spend the time to write all these redundant meta-social and political essays in which we are drowning today. These books were written in the days when we were children, contain so stunning and prophetic inspiration, expression of elegance, but at the same time, rapid language, that they will be a terrific reading for at least forty years. You will be hard to blame if you suddenly think that they are written directly into this year.

Terms and concepts, which are now all in the language themselves jump to us from the pages of these books: the crisis of industrialization, the future of alternative energy, the dominance of advertising in business, the rise of non-nuclear family, communication technology, power consumption calculating, sensors embedded in our habitual homes, genetic engineering, which allows you to design a new human body, corporate social responsibility, information overload — and yes, right on the page 292 of "Third Wave", a phrase that is now on everyone's lips: "DIY Revolution". Not surprising that this book has been dubbed "a classic study of the future." (Perhaps one of the few things in which Toffler wrong, or, at least, were not entirely accurate — is widespread polygamous communities).

In a private conversation Toffler were no less visionary, easily holding the relationship between stupor kongressionnoy American system, the Asian obsession with high technology, and the inertia of the Middle East policy. But what is most striking in the couple Toffler, so it's not what they told us in the restaurant, and those of their amazing predictions about the future society, which seem to be so accurate and relevant today — especially when you consider that many of them in their time were not apparent. While the household wisdom that time considered as a cause of massive industrialization turning people into mere mass "cogs system," Toffler saw in her place stratification (stratification of society, inequality, approx. Mixednews) and the division of labor, which will lead us into a new superindustrial society as a heterogeneous patchwork. And while the company was crowded both ignorance and joyful feeling about long-term effects of communication technologies, Toffler foresaw the emergence of telephony and virtualization space, which will force us to look for more inventive ways to avoid overstimulation and privacy of our personal lives. From the standpoint of the modern world, where addiction to the Internet is called a dependency, we must pay tribute to the strength of their prediction that in the future will be even disease consequences of technological progress. Tofflerovsky "Future Shock" is both a disease and lifestyle.

It is evident that Toffler — who are now writing his latest book, their general memoirs — still have the most advanced ideas that they are willing to provide us. It is equally important that they themselves are the best example of the invention of the same profession — Futurists. But how do they do it?

While the name itself was coined by the fascist Italian poet Filippo Marinetti, who wrote a brief and vague "Manifesto of Futurism" in 1909, Toffler futurism made this profession. And they did it the hard way. Having grown up in a post-depressive America, they left New York and moved to the heart of the country, where for years worked as a welder and ordinary workers in aluminum factories and mills, trying to yourself to experience all the difficulties of growing industrialization. Just so they could understand what is happening, and to imagine what will come after.

Prediction of the future has nothing to do with locking in the room and peering into a crystal ball. This kind of journalism — the interaction with people and the perception of the most advanced ideas. With the constant traveling, meetings, interviews, and positioning themselves as journalists, Toffler used the power of his imagination to piece together the pieces of the ghost of the future. Toffler committed no scientific discoveries have not invented a new technology is not established a powerful corporation, but they have created a new language that could describe how these activities may overlap. How meynstrimnyh books far in 1970 said that the proliferation of media channels will allow each person to design yourself the reality of their own taste, or foresaw the emergence of the breakaway region of Abkhazia in the post-Soviet republic of Georgia?

In "The Third Wave" Toffler predicted that the most developed communities stop viewing humanity as the pinnacle of evolution. Instead, they thought we enter the brave new world where knowledge will be the new inexhaustible resource, and transform not only our economy, but also our perception of ourselves — and "not just for one generation, but forever."

Now, a generation, it's time to revive tofflerovskuyu methodology, while we try to understand the incipient future in which technology permeates every sphere of human activity — from the manipulation of DNA and cloning to space exploration — and in which humanity is continuously looking for ways to accelerate their own biological evolution to match the astonishing pace of technological progress. The only way to do it — consistently integrate itself with technology, launching the era of reform and innovation, which we call the Hybrid Age. If the first wave of evolution was a rural and tribal, the second — the industrial and nationalist, and the third — information and transnational, the Hybrid Era is what Toffler would call the "Fourth Wave". In this new era of human evolution into a human-technological soevolyutsiyu: we become part of the machine, and the machine becomes a part of us.

In English, there is no other word to describe the complex intertwining of man and technology. The closest German word seems Technique: it means not just technology, but a set of techniques and processes that will build and operate it. In the emerging world today Technique can be a bit complex index of preparedness for future hybrid era. It will bring together the scientific and mechanical measurement technology with special attention to its impact on people and society. So while today we are talking about promoting democracy, tomorrow we may find that we ought to promote good Technique.

Five characteristics distinguish this new hybrid era from those that have been before: the widespread penetration of technology, increasing intelligence, expanding its social dimension, its ability to integrate and merge into new forms, and its increasing ability to create technology gap — faster and bigger than all what we have seen before.

First, the power and low cost computers in the world today is growing exponentially. This trend is likely to continue for at least another decade, after which genetic technology — in fact, the use of enzymes and molecules instead of silicon chips — can provide us with even cheaper nanocomputers. Soon after, the incredibly tiny computers and sensors will move out of our smartphones and laptops in every single object we encounter in our daily lives, including our own bodies. IBM predicts that by 2015 the world will be 1 trillion devices connected to the Internet, continuously recording and transmitting information. We will literally live in the technology.

Second, technology will no longer show a primitive repository of information that require a person to understand and process it. They are intelligent, able to understand the data that they collect, and to work both independently and in tandem with each other. When Watson — the computer company IBM in February beat two people in the game Jeopardy * (in Russia there is an analogue of the game, known as "Jeopardy, approx. Mixednews), it was a huge breakthrough artificial intelligence: answering questions that required understanding the context Watson demonstrated a grasp of the language, the highest indicator of the human mind — and not many Americans were surprised by this. Someday we will look at these three days at a time when the era of hybrid a reality.

Third, both the form and function of technology will become anthropomorphic. Commands based on the voice and gestures make interaction with machines more natural, and in our eyes they will react almost like people. Despite the fact that their intelligence is lower than ours, we will find that we have formed an emotional connection with them. Your love for your communicator — this is only the beginning. Recently in Japan, a young man married a character from a video game. The more we go into the network and virtual space, the more our behavior in the network begins to shape our 'real' behavior, rather than just reflect it.

Fourth, the technology will be combined with new and powerful ways. Forget about the internet a variety of science, from the neurochemistry and biology to mathematics and physics, mixed and combined, will generate new knowledge field with incredible features. Already, Hybrid era takes us beyond the information technology in a completely new areas, such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, environmental technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, simultaneously infusing new strength in traditional industries such as industrial production and energy production. The falling cost of computing makes possible the interaction between the different fields of scientific knowledge, and creates a space for the emergence of entirely new discoveries. Biomehatronika, for example, combines biology, electrical engineering, and physics to create natural implants that are almost as perfect as our own limbs.

Finally, the hybrid era brings to our lives, not only the widespread penetration of the technology, but also a technological failure. Brian Arthur, a professor at the Santa Fe Institute, writes in his book "The Nature of Technology" that, unlike humans, technology can grow, develop, and scale rapidly. The more technology there is, the greater the volume of their combined capabilities, leading to the emergence of new even more complex products that are revolutionizing the industry. This has already happened with the jet engines and semiconductors, and is now the software and carbon nanotubes, a combination of strength, flexibility, and thermal conductivity which may forever change everything in our world — from splicing to create new bone cells. This means that we can continuously watch technology destroy the old business model, releasing to the market with unprecedented speed.

And it will have an impact not only on the business model. Take for example the future coming of the production model with the motto "do-it-yourself." At first glance, the advantage of the United States, as a pioneer in the industry of creating different designs available devices will allow you to create individual family store niche products at reduced prices, will compete with Chinese manufacturing base, while reviving the U.S. economy. However, if China suddenly lose their income in America, he can continue to translate their vast foreign exchange reserves in U.S. Treasury bonds? As a result, one technological innovation in the United States could lead to the fact that the interest rate again soar to the skies again and the economy will sink. Be careful what you wish for: Hybrid era is also the era of destruction.

In the hybrid era society will differ from each other not their geography, culture, income, or their traditions, and their ability to adapt to rapidly changing technological context. We not only live in different places, how many live in various stages of development Technique.

In the 1970s, according to Toffler, several million people were living "in the future" because of his involvement in the advancement in technology and a more rapid pace of life. Today, millions of lives "in the future" in Tokyo alone. In Japanese society already have robots that teach whole classes of teenagers, robotic pets, watching and helping the elderly, and a considerable number of young people in love with the virtual characters. The traditional analysis of Japan show us that the country is dying because of the demographic crisis, but at the same time, it is developing rapidly. Even a below poverty line country like India, has found that it can increase the level of its Technique with the widespread implementation of mobile phones, biometric passports, digital kiosks in every dusty village, and the creation of a complex of the "Law on the right to information," which requires mandatory publication of all laws on the Internet.

As we enter into the hybrid era, one who can control the fusion of technology, capital, and identity, has the opportunity to become a pole of power. The policy will be re-focused not just on the same state, and in four different overlapping areas: countries, cities, companies, and communities. We can already see a shift toward a dogma of the 19th century, as "government provide security and prosperity" to the realization that most governments act in the best case, the role of regulators. Instead, we see how the private sector driving the growth and prosperity, which in turn creates stability. Government range from those that have the resources to stay active creators of the political and economic identity (Singapore, China) to those where the public and private struggle to find the right model of division of labor (Europe, United States), and to those that does not seem to do anything at all (most of the post-colonial countries). Employees of Facebook or Google can spend their days on campus, which are essentially a full commune, the same thing happens with the employees of companies in Russia, India and China. Once their corporate affiliation may allow them to bo? Greater degree of freedom and mobility than their national citizenship.

In the hybrid era we can all suffer from a new form of identity crisis. Instead of a world in which the West is opposed to the East, and that democracy is opposed to dictatorial regimes, we find ourselves in a new and more complex reality, where players may make the city, the diaspora, corporations, community cloud, and they will fight and compete for the right to improve your Technique. Some governments will provide Technique its citizens, while others — will lose. Mega-corporations can buy loyalty and voters, providing a widely available Technique. And those who are not able to do that, will remain far behind.

What really will differentiate the Hybrid from the previous era of revolutionary periods in history, is the fact that it will become a global very quickly. Billions of the poorest people around the world, from Africa to India, are already involved in technological experiments and become pervoispytatelyami services that are able to change the paradigm of life. In India, every month there are nearly 10 million new mobile connections. In Kenya, local engineers have developed a system called telephone banking Safarik, which instantly made many traditional banks in the country does not need. Chris Anderson, curator of TED conferences, called such gaps "crowd accelerated innovation." So that the poor class will play an unexpected role in the hybrid era, using technology to create new opportunities for themselves, and the gaps for the rest of the world.

And yet, we have not even begun to understand all aspects of the manifestation of human-technology soevolyutsii. Are you sure that an insane amount of hours of training for many years in medical school is such a good idea, as is 75 percent of operations to remove the prostate adenoma in the United States has done with robots? What about the impact of life-prolonging treatments, while various governments have been forced to change their policies resignation and retirement to meet the world in which life expectancy in affluent communities crossed 75 years and moving to 100? Only if the Chinese and Iranian kiberhakerov we should fear, or also AI programs that are able to break into international markets without warning?

The era in which international relations expert could claim that they understand the world is fast disappearing. Welcome to the Hybrid era where such restrictive labels — is the shadow of the past, and where the changing paradigm transformations occur simultaneously in many arenas and many speeds. All this and allowed Alvin Toffler insightfully noted, "The future comes too quickly and not in the order."

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