2016-12-05 - random notes about our times

few years ago i was gathering thoughts about current world of technological possibilities for one of popular-science talks. yesterday i found them. ;) i'm not planning any popular-science talks in a near future, but some of the thoughts/quotes you might find interesting, so here they go (order is random)…

we live in fast-forward times, when technology boosts innovation and innovations improve technology. all of this is happening in shorter and shorter loops! :)

even though my daily job (SW engineer) was already invented, long ago, vast majority of languages and tools i use daily, were not invented when i was born. some of my favorite technologies were not there when i still was a student, not to mention concepts and approaches we use nowadays. this is fascinating, but at the same time sets completely new goals for education system! ability to learn fast is now more welcomed than just a knowledge. creativity is now the important added value.

when i was preparing HW part of my master thesis i was considering to put multiple µCs to control it, so that it's easier to program. my dad laugh that back when he was a student, it was just not possible, since such a microprocessor would cost a good, monthly salary. i bought my for 1EUR – well times have changed. :) i sometimes wonder what my children and grand children will surprise me with? :)

btw: newly produced cars have typically tens of separate µCs on-board, for all the different, little things, like: reverse mirrors control, sensors for monitoring engine, in-car multimedia systems, airbags, ABS, etc… you catch the drift. :)

we're on the edge of new technological breakthrough – AI that will be more capable than human mind. some experts say it's about 1-2 decades ahead of us. this will be a truly new world.

more and more human disabilities can be cured/improved with implants. this also blurs a bit difference between man and a cyborg. quoting Cyberpunk 2020 manual – would you consider your grandmother a cyborg, because she has a hearing aid? hmm… for now such implants/amendments try to minimize the gap for ppl with disabilities. in the (not so far) future these solutions will most likely offer better parameters than its biological equivalents, up to the point im might be worth replacing natural eyes with a set of high-end cameras for improved night vision and ability to take photos at the same time. in fact fixing disabilities may become just just fixing a car – another daily routine. just imagine that after loosing your arm in the car accident your biggest worry is spending 2 days in the bio-cybernetic clinic to replace with mechanical one… but well – you planned to this any way, as the old one was already too weak to lift 100kg.

robots become omnipresent. starting with robot-vacuum-cleaners at home, through autonomic cars on our streets and military robots.

easy access to knowledge changes the world. just consider Wikipedia or google – how they changed the world! i still remember well the world without a fast-access encyclopedia and good search engines. this was a very different world, to say the least.

some fear that machines replace humans. that's true. and that's good. i tend to think about it as sth similar to industrial revolution times – machines replace humans with pointless jobs, that either are boring, dangerous… but some1 still needs to invent new machines and fix existing ones. this means job shifting. now, instead of siting 12-14h at a production line, you can sit for 8h in the nice, worm office, designing the next generation of machines. if you ask me – i'm in! :D

in Poland mobile phones started to pop up here and there around the year 2000. by 2010 pretty much everyone had at least one. interesting observation was that human thumbs become very flexible, thanks to daily usage of mobile phones. before that, for ppl who did not used keyboards, this finger was mostly used to apply force to block thing held in hand, like say a broom. nowadays its back in service. ;)

few years back there was an interesting paper published, proposing FTL drive, called alcubierre warp drive (name's a tribute to the star trek series).

we're getting used to copy&pasting. when i was at primary school it was typically assumed that humans temporary memory capacity is 7+2 elements. due to ppl used to c&p things around, there is a less stress on exercising memory, and the average number is down to 5+2 elements1). good or bad? just new i suppose.

our machines get more and more complex, but interfaces are more and more human-friendly. my first PC had only command-line input – you actually needed to know a few shell commands to launch anything. ;) nowadays we have GUIs, touch screens and even sets for mind controlling of different things. even small children, who do not speak yet, can easily operate a tablet, start a game and play. complexity hidden behind a friendly interface does the trick!

well – time to read some book and go to sleep. see you tomorrow in a brand new world, i guess! :)

1)
citation needed :P
blog/2016/12/05/2016-12-05_-_random_notes_about_our_times.txt · Last modified: 2016/12/05 19:46 by basz
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