Saturday, January 12, 2013

Future Shock in the Here and Now

1/11/13 - My imaginary dinner lark of two days ago, crafted due to a 2-day lull in activity, has been immediately followed by a 2-day downpour. I recall the following...

Yesterday included more cyberspace with a discussion of the game Shadowrun and a return mention of William Gibson, as well as some chat about manga and anime. This included a brief detour concerning the impact of a networked world on reality, the old ideas of virtual reality, and the burgeoning world of augmented reality. These fairly in-depth concepts breezed by as mere mentions thanks to a shared prior basic understanding of the concepts.

However, all of this brought to mind the book "Future Shock" by Alvin Toffler which discussed the idea of information overload and how society copes with unrelenting progress. It was written way back in 1970, at least a generation before any form of internet put the pedal to the metal on the advance of technology.

Much of Future Shock dealt with the idea of technology isolating people from one another, thereby destroying community and neighborhoods, but the viewpoint of 1970 could not foresee advances in personal communication, which have enabled the rise of virtual communities. And now, many of us have smartphones with access to a multitude of web sites and apps that specifically encourage a return to local interactions in the real world, while still allowing us to connect with the world like never before. Tech created information overload, but it also came up with tools to help us manage in this new world.

Funny how "information overload" so quickly became an in-store subject - and included here; a series of posts specifically about the nearly overwhelming variety of ideas exchanged at Bonnett's Books. But, wait. There's More! That was Thursday. On to Friday.

Today there was a candlelight vigil outside hosted by our neighbors at Peace on Fifth, inside Gallery 510, to raise awareness for victims of Human Trafficking worldwide. They were outside and I had to stay in the store, so there were no interactions to report. However, local news interviewed some of the attendees as they stood in our doorway.

Inside the store, there was more chat about manga and anime, discussions of local history, local TV, the advance of cable TV in the '70s and '80s - with sidebars about personal experiences* with cable in its early days, and remembrance of favorite cable programs of yore. Ah, memories.

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*featuring the VERY awkward teenage event of seeing naked ladies ride bikes while sitting with a girlfriend and her parents as we waited for Capricorn One to air on a movie channel. I'll avoid linking to keep the blog SFW, but you can see it if you wish on MetaCafe.com by searching for Queen - Bicycle Race - Uncensored.