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Future Shock Then & Now: Change Or Die

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Bloviating Zeppelin: Future Shock Then & Now: Change Or Die

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Future Shock Then & Now: Change Or Die

Ever have one of those days where your head spins from the information you think you should know, how to get it, how to absorb it, how to process it and then, in terms of not only your blogging career but your life as well, what to do with it?

I am having one of those days.

Quite literally, I am feeling more than overwhelmed.

Back in my formative collegiate years, Alvin Toffler wrote a 1970 book that I skimmed briefly for a class, entitled Future Shock. In this book, Toffler postulates that change will occur so exponentially in the future that humans will find themselves challenged on every level: socially, psychologically and even physically. Toffler submits that humans have a finite capacity to digest change, and wonders to what end we seem to continuously push for said change.

An excellent article about the negative effects of change and information overload is here, from the Principia Cybernetica Web.

I know this about humans: we push just for the sake of pushing. Not because we want it, demand it or even need it. But because we can.

We marvel at our childrens' capacity to digest technology but even they will be challenged by the rate of change in their lifetimes.

Where will it stop? Where will it end? Can it end? Should it stop?

It indicates:

If you’re 1 in a million in China, there are 1,300 people just like you.

In India, there are 1,100 people just like you.

The 25% of the population in China with the highest IQs is greater than the total population of North America.

In India, it’s the top 28%.

Translation for teachers: India and China have more honors kids than we have kids.

China will soon become the Number One English-speaking country in the world.

If you took every single job in the US today and shipped it to China, it would still have a labor surplus.

During the course of reading this post:

60 babies will be born in the US.
244 babies will be born in China.
351 babies will be born in India.

The US Department of Labor estimates that today’s learner will have 10 to 14 jobs – by age 38.

Also according to the USDL, 1 out of 4 workers today is working for a company for whom they have been employed less than one year.

More than 1 out of 2 are working for a company for whom they have worked less than 5 years.

According to former Secretary of Education Richard Riley, the top 10 jobs that will be in demand in 2010 didn’t exist in 2004.

We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t yet been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.

Name this country:

- Richest in the world.
- Largest military
- Center of world business and finance
- Strongest education system
- World center of innovation and invention
- Currency the world standard of value
- Highest standard of living

England. In 1900.

The US is 20th in the world in broadband internet penetration (Luxembourg just passed us).

Nintendo invested more than $140 million dollars in research and development in 2002 alone.

The US federal government spent less than half as much on research and innovation in education.

1 of every 8 couples married in the US last year met online.

There are over 106 registered users of MySpace (as of September, 2006).

If MySpace were a country, it would be the 11th largest in the world, between Japan and Mexico.

The average MySpace page is visited 30 times a day.

There are over 2.7 billion searches performed on Google each month.

To whom were these questions addressed before Google (BG)?

The number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the population of the planet.

There are about 540,000 words in the English language, about 5 times as many as during Shakespeare’s time.

More than 3,000 new books are published daily.

It is estimated that a week’s worth of the New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century.

It is estimate that 1.5 exabytes (1.5 X 10 to the 18th power) of unique new information will be generated worldwide this year.

That’s estimated to be more than in the previous 5,000 years.

The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years.

For students starting a four-year technical or college degree, this means that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their 3rd year of study.

It is predicted to double every 72 hours by the year 2010.

Third generation fiber optics have recently been tested by NEC and Alcatel that pushes 10 trillion bits per second down one strand of fiber.

That’s 1,900 CDs or 150 million simultaneous phone calls every second.

It’s currently tripling every 6 months and is expected to do so for at least the next 20 years.

The fiber is already there. They’re just improving the switches on the ends, which means the marginal costs of these improvements is effectively $0.

Predictions are that e-paper will be cheaper than real paper.

47 million laptops were shipped worldwide last year.

The $100 laptop project is expected to ship between 50 and 100 million a year to children in underdeveloped countries.

Predictions are that by 2013 a Supercomputer will be built that exceeds the computational capabilities of the human brain.

By 2023, when 1st Graders will be just 23 years old and beginning their (first) careers, it will only take a $1,000 computer to exceed the capabilities of the human brain.

And while technical predictions farther out than 15 years are difficult to make, predictions are that by 2049 a $1,000 computer will exceed the computational capabilities of the human race.

I'm beat.



Blogger BB-Idaho said...

Awww, was having a delightful day until I finished your update on technology & change...
From the hindsight of retirement, I can only observe from experience: change can be good, change can be bad...but it is inevitable!

Wed Feb 28, 01:02:00 PM PST  
Blogger TexasFred said...

There will be no life other than 'cyber life'...

Now if I had some good recipes for all this 'net spam, I'd make a fortune..

Glad to see you back BZ, I hope marriage is treating you well...

Wed Feb 28, 01:17:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

BB-I: inevitable, yes; but the question Toffler posed then and even more important now: are we adopting change for the sake of change, because we can, not because it's particularly necessary or wanted or positive?

TF: once again, Fred, ever the Texas Gentleman! Thanks, and yes, the new married life is treating me wonderfully. Now, if I could only think of something digital that could make me a pile of money and allow me to retire into the style to which I'd like to become accustomed.


Wed Feb 28, 05:21:00 PM PST  
Blogger BB-Idaho said...

Confess to not having read Toffler, so my observation is
'from the dark', but I am reminded of the unfortunate cavemen of the
ubiquitous Geico commercial. Us
homo sapiens were exposed to very
gradual change, even up until the
start of this century..on rare occasions we ran from a wooly mammoth, or fled the Assyrian troops: but for the last few eons,
we were born, raised, worked and died on the same little plot, knew the same people..change was a litter of piglets..a marriage, perhaps. That is how our neural
networks were made to function.
On the bright side, we are the most adaptable of species. Technology has become exponential and there is some reason to believe that genetics can keep apace...hmm, gotta get that 7th grader to come adjust my VCR again...

Wed Feb 28, 06:52:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

BB-I: 7th grader? I think infants could fix it. I've had a DVD/VCR combo for 4 years now and have YET to figure out how to program it for satellite shows. When I want something recorded I push the POWER button and then push RECORD. With a VHS tape inserted, of course.

Absent VHS, what do people record on, anyway?


Wed Feb 28, 07:09:00 PM PST  

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