Main Section Starts
Written Work or Main Navigation Starts Below
Benjamin-Newton Really Mobile: The Information Revolution
Listen to This Article
Spoken Version (8 Min, 36 Sec) - 6.5 MB
Read This Article
One of the major events of this century, that almost everyone is ignoring is that we are undergoing a major technology revolution. This will be on the scale of the agricultural revolution, bigger than the industrial revolution. Before the agricultural revolution, we lived as hunters and gathers and had no written language or permanent settlements.
After the agricultural revolution, we had: the first written history, what we now consider basic math, the first laws or government of any kind, cities, large scale food production, public projects like roads and irrigation, accounting, the first schools of any kind, major world religions, armies and large scale warfare, and jobs other than hunter or gatherer. All this and more is now going to be transformed, or even made irrelevant.
The people, that were aware of this development, made some real bad decisions, based on some ridiculous assumptions. One of the big reasons why we gave up on being a manufacturing power was that the highest tech goods are usually sold for the highest price. This means, if we get all the computer related jobs, we will be much richer, than a nation that has to settle for manufacturing. This part makes sense.
What does not make sense is the assumption, that we will both always add new jobs, for obsoleted jobs and that computers usually add jobs, rather than reduce them. It is simple logic. In industrial revolution style thinking, you reduce costs, as much as you can. The biggest cost is labor, so most technology is used to replace people, in order to reduce costs the most.
Computers don't increase jobs; they reduce them. People often think that, for every job lost, a new one will be replaced, and that the economy will always need everyone employed, in order to function. The problem now is that we don't need everyone employed to run the economy. And we need less and less people all the time. What do the people, who are replaced, do now? Do they just roam the streets, or live on welfare, for the rest of their lives?
What happens now? We really have no idea what will happen next, except that the social aspects of computers and the internet will transform us more than the technology itself. There will be leaders from different organizations or networks, who will begin to take control, from traditional sources, in very aspect of life. People will continue to be the same as they always were morally, emotionally, and intellectually.
You can be sure opportunists will continue to work, to improve their self interests, and ideologues will push their ideologies, at any cost. The big addictions and social problems we have will just find different venues. We won't be better people and the rich will likely get richer and the poor will get much poorer. Leaders will continue to be addicted to power and businessmen will continue to lust for more money.
The big thing you can be sure of is that the major social institutions of the 19th and 20th century will be irrelevant or unrecognizable. Someone, from my generation, going into the future, a hundred years, would find the world, as baffling, as someone, from these stone age would, with computers and the internet. The changes of the 19h and 20th centuries will be minor, in comparison. Another things to be certain of is that we will continue to use up all our energy, no matter how much we get. Our need for more energy is similar to a gambler's need for more money.
Corporations and software will be much more important, than they are now. The company you buy your computer from is already more important, than the people you vote for. And as long as we have computers, criminals and the government will continue to steal and leak information and their will be an exponential increase in the creativity, sophistication, severity and the variety of attacks. Within a few decades, everyone's and every groups identity and secrets will be compromised and exposed.
Some people have still not yet realized, that the US government has implemented a police state, like the Gestapo, KGB, and STAZi, but in a more high tech fashion. Within a couple generations, we will have a leader like Hitler, but he or she will be seem really reasonable to us and will solve a lot of problems, using common sense, and will cut through all the "red tape".
Just be sure you are not Muslim; you do not look like, have a name spelled like, or speak any language anyone would mistake for being from anywhere in South Asia or Africa; you are not an activist of any kind; you say nothing bad about the government; you are for the latest war; you never become important or powerful; you never find an effective way to limit the power of the government; you never try any way to avoid its surveillance; and you never violate any one of thousands of unknown laws.
If you avoid all those things, you will avoid being one of the first round of gas chamber victims. You will not be able to get rid of the police state, because they will just operate it overseas, if it is outlawed. Many people suffered terribly during World War II, the Cold War, and the War on Terrorism, for no good reason.
And we will get involved in more wars: we will attack Iraq a few more times (because some people's political beliefs entirely revolve around invading that country) and likely Russia (which could go nuclear and would be easily avoidable). The government will start offering a million dollars, for each person who signs up, to be mercenary (contractor), as the military, intelligence, and police will be completely outsourced and corporate, if they are not already.
We will give up on even pretending we are even going to balance the budget and increase military spending exponentially. Terrorism will be done on a greater and greater scale and none of our counter measures will even keep the attacks from getting bigger and more sophisticated. The banks will continue to need to get bailed out every decade, or our world economy will collapse and we will be back in the stone age.
Elected officials will only learn enough about computers, to leak all the sensitive information about themselves, the government, and everyone else's information they have access to. The government will continue to be so slow that people will not even bother with suing someone or filing charges. They will just steal all your personal information sell it, and lock you out of all your communications. Making people mad will be much easier and more painful. The best way to cope, as always, will be to be useless to those in power and not stand out enough, to be a target, of anyone.
The future is in doing what Apple has done, for the last couple decades: sell premium products, to people, who are not cheap, and ignore the others. The thing for educators to do, to prepare the next generation for work, is to simply pound into the kids brains that you need to be proactive and find ways to make money, in case you never do find a job. As soon as they can read and write, they need to focus on finding revenue streams.
The fundamental and only question that kids of the next generation need to answer is: what good or service can I offer that someone else will pay me money for? Nothing else really matters. And for values, the only thing you need to teach your children is to simply be kind to themselves, others, and to their resources. The other thing you can do, to improve the next generations life, is to teach your kids to do without what others think is necessary. Do you really need a car and a smartphone? Do you really need cable TV and espresso every day?
Main Section Stops
Written Work or Main Navigation Stops Here