Monday, November 7, 2011

CEDO Week 4: Virtually

I was very impressed with the Prezi sample from the Digital Media group, "Techno-kinship: the new virtual". Besides the polished production of it, the content is something to ponder about. I remember a few years back (1992) while I was traveling in Indonesia and visited a village and into the terraced rice/vegetable fields in the mountains. The scattered roadside shops and coffee houses were the gathering and focal points of the village. Every one lives here and there throughout the fields but comes up to the shops for socialization, gossip and news as well as to make the occasional phone call somewhere. I wondered then how the introduction of cell phones would change the social structure of the people. They would no longer have the same need to gather and socialize. Not that it would stop completely, but that things would certainly change. It probably has by now and I wonder how their lives have been affected.

It's a bit different with people in developed countries. We've lived with, in and through logarithmic change for about 150 years now, being both the creators and recipients of technological advancements. We are more used to it. But for people who have lived practically the same for centuries to have the latest future come upon them - it must be an overwhelming change.

Even though we live in the midst of it however, we still can't foresee its blessings or consequences because of the rate of change. Virtual technology certainly has some great positive applications. But then it also has some deep questions about what will become societal norms. I've never played a lot of video games. I like to drive at night, especially through orange cone infested construction zones, because it reminds me of a video game. Only I like the real driving better because you have to be 100%. I guess now with video remote controlled warfare you need to be 100% as well. I still prefer reality to virtual but perhaps coming generations will think the other way.

I love the technology I work with. I can see its usefulness in many applications. I know I'm in the middle of it. I'm not so sure about where societies and cultural norms are headed with it. The Jetson's is a fun cartoon but I still really love the smell of fresh baked apple pie with vanilla ice cream melting on the top. Selling a slice in 2nd Life for a couple of credits won't do anything for me.

Speaking of virtual worlds ... I remember in the 70's when holograms first came out. I thought for sure that smart investors would make a killing on holographic TV, just like Yoda in Star Wars. I always wonder why holographic technology hasn't been developed and mainstreamed to consumers?

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