Pompous Ass


Good morning baby, my wife will say. Already woken up by Iris, our virtual personal assistant, she is shaking me and telling me to get moving as today is my big day. I stretch and hop out of bed to find that she has already picked out my favorite suit along with my favorite shirt and tie (though I believe Iris helped her). I begin to get dressed in the bathroom while watching the morning news and looking at my calendar built into the mirror. I notice that for the first time in what feels like forever, my calendar is clear. I am accepting my award today for my work in founding the most innovative company of the year.

I arrive downstairs and Iris is just finishing printing my breakfast (yes I said printing). The food is completely fresh and warm as I begin to practice my speech by reading it on the projected teleprompter and listening to myself in the recording. My wife sits at the other end of the table making fun of me, as usual… It was only 10 years ago that I graduated Bucknell, and 5 years ago that I started my company. Using the advancements in technology, we found a way to measure all types of inputs and develop models which all types of companies are using to figure out what their customers want and need. We have also managed to use this mass amount of data to find new trends in the markets, and to find ways to offer new opportunities to the developing world.

me

Proud of myself (I’m allowing myself to have a bit of hubris today), I wait for my mom and dad to arrive at my house. Together, the four of us step into our Google driverless car and sit around the table drinking coffee and talking about the news as the car brings us to our destination. The drive, which in years past would have taken nearly an hour to complete, took a mere fifteen minutes. We pulled up in front of the hall where I would receive my award.

Afterwards, we left to go celebrate 2023 style. Our car lifted off of the ground and we entered the skynet headed from New York to Dubai to take a week of vacation and relax together. Iris was capable of managing the main aspects of the business for the next week and had strict instructions to only interrupt us if there was an emergency. The beauty of the future is that we only need to worry about the important things. The technology will handle the rest.

A World without Google


What if one day you typed in google.com in the search bar, and the words: “unable to connect to server” popped up on your screen.  What would you do?

“I don’t know, I’ll Google it” is a phrase that I probably say every day.  I can’t imagine a time when I didn’t have this search engine fired up and ready to go when there is ever something that I am unsure about.  I have set Google as my home page every time I press safari or Internet Explorer.  Google is my teacher, my parent, and my peer all in one: it provides 1,000,000 answers to a single question that I might have previously asked someone who may have the answer.  I like to think that having this resource has fueled my desire for learning and my sense of curiosity, because I find myself eager to “google” any question I may have and find millions of answers waiting for me.

I shudder to think what would happen if we no longer had Google at my fingertips.  Google has become such a necessary part of my daily life that living without it seems terrifying.  Researching a topic for school would take days and not hours, finding the telephone number of a restaurant would require actually searching it in the yellow pages, and finding an address would mean searching through tons of paper maps.  These tasks have all been taken care of for us, by the ever-reliable Google.

Furthermore, the company is unparalleled in that it also has Gmail, Google Earth, Google maps, Google calendar, and Google docs, all for free.  It is not only a superior search engine, but it also connects many resources that we use on a daily basis, such as a calendar and email.  With Gmail and Google Calendar, I can now invite someone from my calendar to an event, and they will be notified by email and by pop up from the calendar about the event.   Therefore, Google not only is an incredible search engine, but it also saves time, money, and space.

Sometimes we use the convenience of Google for granted, and I think it is important to step back and realize how technology has become an integral part in our lives.  Even for this post, I “googled” images and videos that I thought would be related to the issue.  If Google suddenly disappeared, it would definitely be a rude awakening.

The Internet Apocalypse


Sorry it’s taken me so long to put a prompt together, but I encountered some serious delays when I couldn’t think of a good portmanteau involving the word “facebook.”

Anyways, one of my biggest interests is in human communication, and how technology has affected that. So for this week’s prompt, I’m actually gonna ask you to get creative- really approach this with an open mind, and think about potential implications.

For this week’s post, pick a major means of communication (i.e. Facebook, Google, smartphones, email, snail mail, carrier pigeons etc.) that has had a significant impact on the ways in which we interact, and write about what you would think would happen if it stopped working on little to no notice. For example, how has the ability to look up stocks at any time from anywhere impacted the financial industry? What if people suddenly couldn’t do it? Or, if hackers took control of all of Google’s services, what’s the worst thing they could do (remember, Google does much more than web searching, so “using Bing” doesn’t cover all of it)?

Basically though, I really want you to have fun with it, and it doesn’t have to be all good/bad- this post isn’t meant to only be cautionary about our reliance on new things….

Recipe for Apocalypse

  1. Pick a communications technology
  2. Obliterate it (metaphorically, not literally)
  3. Imagine the horror and/or adaptability that ensues
  4. Get an agent and contact NBC.
  5. http://youtu.be/JwfCRAtkYEI

Uncle Thoreau…

“We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us”

Jordi:

“We do not call on the smartphone; it calls upon us”

Death by Technology


Ray Kurzweil might be the most interesting man of all-time.  He also might be from the future.  One thing is for certain; give this man twenty minutes of your time and he is guaranteed to blow your mind.  The Wall Street Journal has described him as “the restless genius.”  Forbes magazine called him “the ultimate thinking machine” and ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States.  PBS named him one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America.”  Not to mention honors from three US Presidents, five national best-selling books, nineteen honorary Doctorates, and an induction into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.  How can one mind possess so much knowledge and unrelenting idea creation?  Ray Kurzweil’s mind is truly too big and too powerful for me to fully understand, kind of like Google.  It is truly fitting then that Google recently hired Ray as Director of Engineering, and he is undertaking the ultimate project.

I’ll let Ray summarize the main idea behind it – “I envision in some years that the majority of search queries will be answered without you actually asking,”  Google must believe he is close and capable to reach this goal, as they brought him in as part of Google rather than let Ray build this project independently.  Ray intends on creating a search engine that would “act like a ‘cybernetic friend,’ who knows users better than they know themselves.”  It is quite ironic that Ray is behind this project; much of his work has been devoted to how the acceleration of technology will overcome the biological capability of humans and have severe implications for the future of the human species (or something like that).

While many of his ideas are wild and hard to completely understand, his high level of thinking is unmatched.  He almost makes statements that I did not think human minds would be capable of developing, like he knows more than the rest of us.  Who knows?  Maybe Ray is actually just one of those robots from the future that he claims will be inevitably realistic in the next 10-20 years.  Many of his talks are long, but I attached a few clips below.  There is a lot more information on Ray on the web, so feel free to search other videos if you are interested.