hi all. in a contemplative/ reflective/ wistful mood lately. one of my favorite stores Radio Shack died last year. didnt visit all that often but this was a geek nirvana store (it was one of my dads favorites stores also, growing up… he liked it for miscellaneous audio inventions etc). liked to have it around when needed it. it reminded me of all the stores that have died in the last decade or so. its a long list. we have been through a whirlwind of changes in a brief time and some bit of this is reflected in the at-times dramatically shifting retail landscape. aka toffler’s “future shock”.
- borders books/ music
- waldens bookstores
- radio shack
- circuit city
- comp USA
- sharper image
- sony stores
- virgin records
- blockbuster videos
- ultimate electronics
“honorable mention”: barnes & noble (one of my current favorite stores) seems to be on the ropes.[a25] the closure of these stores indicates bigger trends such as the commoditization of electronics/ computers, the shifts in music distribution away from CDs toward digital distribution (in a word, Itunes!), and also with movies eg with Netflix/ Redbox mostly killing Blockbuster videos. its hard to believe only ~1 decade ago, was driving to a store to pick up (occasionally!) VCR tapes. now have a 4K 3d tv and a ps4. wow.
can you believe its 2016 already?
this blog has had a lot of aspects of futurism in it, but sometimes the future has a brutal, darwinistic quality.
is the future utopian, dystopian, or “not much different” than today? there have been big changes in our lives wrought by electronics such as better graphics, internet and mobile phones, etc.
noticed a bunch of books on AI at the bookstores & am in the middle of reading them for a book report/ review. AI seems on the horizon, but will it change human life much?
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Here am I floating round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do.” [x][a26]
there seems to be a thermodynamic equivalent of “inertia/ entropy” that shows up in progress. the future does not seem all that different than the past. visionaries like Kurzweil propose that there are some major discontinuities coming up in the human social order. but in our lives, there has been a massive story of eg wealth inequality that is persistent and shows the inherent resistance of human relations toward mass/ uniform improvement.
we have moores law for improving hardware capacity, but is there any corresponding law of improvement in human social conditions?
human politics has been a record of stymieing and gridlock for ages. sometimes, stalemate.
as a youngster one of my biggest dreams was about the possibility of less human work as automated work and machine intelligence increased. that has not played out in a staggeringly dismal/ demoralizing way. (aka an old quote by Carlyle of economics as the “dismal science”). visionaries such as Asimov predicted this about a half-century ago and the idea has widely missed the mark, with reports of long work weeks and untaken vacations.
there seems to be a mass disconnect/ gap at times between our technology and our so-called quality of life.
much of this is reflected in that evocative term with special economic meaning, but which seems often to transcend economics: scarcity.
almost feel the urge to write an entire book on this complex subject.
there is some good news on the radar about major improvements in energy systems.[b] it sounds like fusion is a possibility in our lifetimes with some predictions that commercial fusion reactors may be in operation by 2040, and solar efficiency is improving dramatically also. however, the term “free energy” seems a sort of misnomer. would it improve our lives much? my energy budget is at most say something like 1/10th of monthly expenditures.
on other hand, world energy problems seem very deeply tied with politics… aka WARS. we have ISIS oil operations/ revenues making daily headlines and this is similar to the situation in Ukraine. could a new energy system/ source take some of the pressure off the scourge of politics? it seems hopeful and naive/ panglossian at the same time.
all visionaries must face the utter/ deep inherent dismality/ futility of the canard: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
- 1. How to Build a Robot Army: Tips on Defending Planet Earth Against Alien Invaders, Ninjas, and Zombies: Daniel H. Wilson: 9781596912816: Amazon.com: Books
- 2. How To Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion: Daniel H. Wilson: 9781582345925: Amazon.com: Books
- 3. Robopocalypse – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- 4. Robots gone wild in Daniel H. Wilson’s ‘Robopocalypse’ – USATODAY.com
- 5. Where’s My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future that Never Arrived: Daniel H. Wilson, Richard Horne: 9781596911369: Amazon.com: Books
- 6. I Made an Untraceable AR-15 ‘Ghost Gun’ in My Office—And It Was Easy | WIRED
- 7. 10 Science Fiction Writers Predict How Our World Will Change In The Next 10 Years
- 8. 7 Top Futurists Make Some Pretty Surprising Predictions About What The Next Decade Will Bring
- 9. The world’s first commercial jetpack will cost $150,000 next year | Technology | The Guardian
- 10. Back to the Future Countdown to October 21, 2015
- 11. We’ll Never Have a Tech Utopia | The New Republic
- 12. Tom Vanderbilt Explains Why We Could Predict Self-Driving Cars, But Not Women in the Workplace
- 13. ‘The Fabulous Future’ Asks: What Will the World Be Like in 25 Years? – The Daily Beast
- 14. The Book No One Read/ Why Stanislaw Lem’s futurism deserves attention. – Issue 28: 2050 – Nautilus
- 15. Are We Obsessed With Tech and the Distant Future Because the Near Future Looks So Scary? | Alternet
- 16. The New Utopians | The New Republic
- 17. What the Future Fiction of 2015 Said About Humans Today | Motherboard
- 18. How That Lexus Hoverboard Actually Works | WIRED
- 19. Tiny motors could suck carbon dioxide from the ocean (Wired UK)
- 20. Why we live in an anti-tech age | Computerworld
- 21. How Boeing’s Dreamliner Was Grounded – Newsweek and The Daily Beast
- 22. The 10 greatest changes of the past 1,000 years | Books | The Guardian
- 23. Major Advance in Artificial Photosynthesis Poses Win/Win for the Environment | Berkeley Lab
- 24. Artificial Photosynthesis Advance Hailed As Major Breakthrough
- 25. Barnes & Noble is dying
- 26. ‘We’re on the cusp of something exhilarating’: Watch David Bowie’s accurate prediction of the internet’s future in 2000
- 1. UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal | UW Today
- 2. Raffi Khatchadourian: Can an Audacious Plan to Create a New Energy Resource Help Save the Planet? : The New Yorker
- 3. Lockheed says makes breakthrough on fusion energy project | Reuters
- 4. So Lockheed Martin Says It’s Made a Big Advance in Nuclear Fusion… | WIRED
- 5. Lockheed Martin fusion reactor breakthrough announced | Daily Mail Online
- 6. Experts Skeptical Of Lockheed Martin’s ‘Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough’
- 7. Bubble Fusion Bubbles Up Again – IEEE Spectrum
- 8. Why It’s Taking The U.S. So Long To Make Fusion Energy Work
- 9. Bill Gates and Other Business Leaders Urge U.S. to Increase Energy Research – NYTimes.com
- 10. Start-Ups Take On Challenge of Nuclear Fusion – The New York Times
- 11. Inside the Quest for Fusion, Clean Energy’s Holy Grail | TIME
- 12. The boy who put a star in a jar | Science | The Guardian
- 13. The ‘ultrapower’ laser hotter that the SUN that could revolutionise energy | Daily Mail Online
- 14. Explaining a mysterious barrier to fusion known as the ‘density limit’ | EurekAlert! Science News
- 15. Accelerating fusion research through the cutting edge supercomputer: Difference of particles species suppresses plasma turbulence — ScienceDaily
- 16. Germany just switched on a revolutionary nuclear fusion machine – ScienceAlert
- 17. Wendelstein 7-X design that could make fusion power a reality is switched on | Daily Mail Online
- 18. Wendelstein 7-X which ‘recreates conditions inside stars’ could make fossil fuels redundant | Daily Mail Online
- 19. Scientists create new ‘nano-reactor’ to produce hydrogen biofuel | Business Standard News