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User Journal

Journal Journal: Creative Sharing

I talked with a friend and coworker today about their writing. They write many poems and songs, and in fact have a constant, overwhelming urge to create.

I urged them strongly to publish (post) their material - they have no blog or public outlet, everything is on notepads.

Throwing aside all their objections and fears, I felt myself become strangely fervent about their sharing. As I think of myself to be a pretty moderate, unexcited individual, this sudden near-fanaticism really surprised me.

Still, I remain steadfast in my belief that the sharing of knowledge and creations is good, but I must do something to temper the irrational emotions that have now become tied to this notion.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Unforgettable Routines

I've been trying to take different routes to work every day. I've heard that it can help to make one's life feel less redundant and more enriched.

I guess it makes sense, seemingly: when someone takes the exact same course of action, the same route to work, the same bus, train, ferry, the days all blend together and thus time seems to fly by in a meaningless procession of redundant, forgettable moments.

It would be nice, however, to know when a certain new route will have unexpected construction delays - that I won't forget any time soon!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Are we past the future?

I've been flip-flopping lately on my belief in the soon-coming of the technological singularity. My opinion varies from day to day. Today, I am feeling pretty confident that our technology will continue to accelerate and will indeed dovetail into some amazing configuration which will result in changes to society and ourselves that we cannot fully imagine.

The other day, however, I really began to feel that our returns from technology have been decreasing steadily and will continue to do so until the world reaches a point of comfort and retires.

Nevertheless, today I feel confident.

On the way home from work I recalled my musical studies and explorations: I am a musician by hobby. I remembered how I would make breakthroughs in my study that would open up a vast landscape of possibility. I would feel joy as I explored this landscape, only to eventually wind-up finding the limits of my newfound abilities. At this point my training, my learning, would take on a type of drudgery as I felt my abilities had plateaued.

It was always a matter of time, though, before I would hit another epiphany (built upon countless bits of knowledge and skill aquired through study and training) and would ride the surge upwards in a dizzying ascent to the next level.

Perhaps we are living in a plateau-time. Perhaps the surge, the epiphany, is that singularity.

It is interesting, then, to notice that the parabola of technological progress is not reflective of reality. Actual progress is stilted, and punctuated. It is scattered, and only by applying an average can the true curve of progression be seen clearly - and then, that average can only be seen best long after the fact.

I do wonder what it all will mean, what it all will look like in 50 years.

Are we going to experience that typical future of the past 100 years? A future of progress and innovation, but which largely smacks of the decades past (what with power-lines and locomotives still fundamental pieces of our infrastructure). Or will we truly rise? Will we truly molt our cocoons; those hardened ideas and technologies which have so well protected us? Will we spread these wings, these wings we know we have, yet cannot fully use yet.

Or will my great-grandchildren still be wondering the same things?

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Primitive Future

As I looked at the city of San Francisco from the Berkeley waterfront I couldn't help but notice the construction of the new bay bridge. From my vantage point I could also see the golden gate. I realized that we will probably never replace the golden gate, at least aesthetically. We may completely replace every part of the golden gate, but it will still look the same, largely.

I then looked back at the city. The buildings reaching for the sky, every inch of the peninsula occupied by structure. It looks to be a great indicator of our current technological and civil prowess as a civilization. But there was something else I could see. There is a way of looking at the world that is distinctive to our modern times. I will tell a story to illustrate.

Shopping at the local electronics store I saw a brand new facial-recognition-enabled camera. I was amused at how novel it was and I told my wife, "honey, look at this primitive AI".

Then I stopped myself - why did I just call this ulta-modern, brand-new piece of technology 'primitive'?

My friend thinks, and I tend to agree, that this is a modern cultural mindset created by the steady march of technological progress: even the newest, latest and greatest are seen through the eyes of what could be.

Perhaps, though, this is just a human inclination. Perhaps it is this self-deprecation that leads us to progress as well as allows us to be hoodwinked by powers "greater" than ourselves; powers that convince us of our 'primitiveness' or our 'incompleteness' and exploit us from it.

I looked out at San Francisco and its overwhelming hold on the land. I then looked at the sky above it.

How many square miles lay unclaimed above that city? How two-dimensional and squashed did out current state seem to me. How bottom-feeding and low did our current state appear.

But this is the view through the eyes of the future - how much smaller am I as an individual than all that matter of that great city?

As a society we will always be far ahead of what we were, far behind what we will become and exactly where we need to be to continue the journey.

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