Robotic Drift

Is this a revolution? Hard to say…


I mean stuff is happening… and we’re told that we’re on a brink of a robotics revolution – but as far as I can see, we’re basically at the same point we were when I started this blog about 2.5 years ago – and it does appear to be resembling Karl Pilkington’s take on technology “everything that needs to be invented has been, and now we’re just messing about”.

Nothing wrong with that I suppose. If you do a youtube search for “hexapod” say, and sort by date-published, people are making these things at a fairly fast rate.

Maybe these things take time… I mean I saw my first computer when I was 16 – in 1979… a thing about the size of a fridge, with an oscilloscope screen. Two years later, my school had them… these things

Four years later (1986) I was working in a bank looking after an IBM mainframe… and desktop computers were starting to creep in – all Dos based.

Two years later (1988) I was working for a computer company – which had 60 staff, and two desktop computers between all of us. We had typists.

Four years later (1992), I did a piss-take, govt-funded, get-me-back-to-work training session… still using Dos-based desktops… but windows ones were in the background.

1994 – working at Auckland University, NZ – every desk had one – and the internet was starting to creep in. It was so small in those days that the University used to download and cache it. I bought my first PC for home huse.

And that was (god forbid) 17 years ago. Now it’s 2011, and I have literally spent more time in front of a computer in the last 10 years than every other activity, including sleeping combined. The web has… a) provided me with the technology and b) become such a problem, that I’ve felt driven to make this:

The web has become so pervasive that it’s starting to interfere with our physical brain-structures.

Now that is a revolution – and it took (as far as I’m concerned) about 20 years to kick in – in fact it didn’t really kick in until it had stopped being a computer-revolution and started to become a communications revolution. Abundant, cheap, global point-to-point communication. That is the thing that’s interfered with brain-structure.

So maybe this is year 3 of a 20-year process… maybe not. The thing about communication, is that we all need to do it a lot, all the time. We don’t need to be making stuff that often… unless it’s stuff like vegetables or electricity. Physical artifacts? Nah. The only reason we have so many physical artifacts now is that we’ve been conned into it – because the prime-driver of our culture is advertising. So we buy stuff. We buy stuff to reward ourselves for… working – for the 1% who take 40% of the money.


Which brings us to the next revolution – the real one… the one that has been the cause of me writing so little of late, because it makes everything else seem trivial. The Great Correction… but more on that later.