Friday, February 18, 2011

Been Thinking A Lot Today

What with my baby's birth I've been giving a lot of thought to the future. It suddenly seems like less of a remote possibility and more of an actuality — I want Aki to grow up, to be a child, and a teenager, and an adult, and (predictably enough, I'm sure) I wonder and worry about what that world is going to be like. I'm not talking about environmental apocalypse. Alien races will enslave us and purify our air with their advanced technology before things can get too bad on that front.

But I wonder, specifically about what it means to live in a world that's so super-connected, and how it's going to affect her, as a child and as an adult. The world we're in is vastly different than the one my parents grew up in. It's vastly different than the one we were in fifteen years ago. What's the world going to be like five years from now? Or thirty?

So: a tryptic of essays, for your consideration, in order of erudition.

First: a primer on Ray Kurzweil from Time Magazine, by Lev Grossman. I tend to like Grossman's writing, but Time Magazine just dumbs the hell out of everything they publish. It's a perfect read if you don't know who Kurzweil is, or what he's about, but the best part of this is the Time-bot's choice of auto-links peppered through the article. Ironically demonstrative!

Second: a refutation of Kurzweil, sort of. Brian Christian has an axe to grind, and he does it with with wit, in first-person narrative. If the first article had me looking up books by Kurzweil, this had me reconsidering my rush.

And last, an article that puts the above two, and my last post, into some perspective. you just can't beat the NYRB for erudition. If anything helps point out where we're going, it's a clear eye toward where we've been, and where we are.

The last two articles, especially, are long but worth it. Hope you enjoy!


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