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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Welcome to the Future, Act I

With the rapidly accelerating pace of technological innovation our world has gone through some fundamental, remarkable, profound changes. Opportunity no longer knocks, it texts you "I am on the way, meet me out front." Of course, this is an exaggeration, it normally just honks as it speeds past. And the only people who get to join the party are the people who bought their ticket early.

You know, I live a comfortable life. I probably have reached the level of my incompetence. If I were to be promoted any further failure is probably assured. Given my age, stubbornness and complete lack of technical proficiency it is almost a foregone conclusion. Looking, realistically at my situation, I'm not sure I am able to perform the functions of my current job. Though, we should keep that between us, sanctity of friendship and all.

Anyway, the real problem is nobody understands where they fit anymore. People look around and talk in reverent tones about the good old days. Even people younger than me talk about the past in a way that makes me feel a little sorry for them. Maybe it has always been this way. Maybe so much change scares them.

More than anything they seem to be saying "things couldn't have always been this bad." But, they probably were, in many ways they were much worse. Polio was still a feared, deadly disease until the 1960's, Of course, effective vaccines drastically reduced the threat. Considering the rising swell of groundless opposition to vaccines we may in fact be able to summon at least some ghosts of the golden age.

I look around and think the present is a pretty good place. There are problems desperately looking for solutions, and tragedy is always a moment away, but that is pretty much the way it has always been. It is possible we have reached a nexus. Things have come so far, the next change is going to be of the same scale as the first home computer. It is thrilling to read the speculation. It is an exciting time to be alive.

We have devices that were unimaginable 40 years ago. We carry, in our pockets, or purses, or clipped to out belts computers that would have amazed engineers who designed the little craft that flew to and landed on the moon. We are linked, connected and wired in ways that boggle the mind. I can write this, save it to "the cloud" and edit it on a computer at home, or the gym, or the coffee shop. I can add pictures from another device, and music from a musician in the UK, who I "met" on twitter. And whose albums I buy using a company in Omaha that specializes in the electronic transfer of money. Tell me that ain't cool.

There are so many good things about history, and we should learn all we can from the past. But, what we should learn, more than anything, is if we are willing to embrace the present it ain't bad, and the future has some potential, too. And, I can't wait.