Bill Thompson has posted a thoughtful article over at the BBC about the changes that social networking is making to our standards of social interaction. He discusses his own tweeting and live-blogging at conferences, and then talks about the news updates that were tweeted by Tearah Moore during the Fort Hood incident.
The first post describes what might happen if the US collapses in the same way economically as the USSR did in the 1990’s. It then goes on to making recommendations about what to focus on – essentially food, transportation, shelter and security. I thought it was fascinating because although I have been thinking for a number of years that the economic situation was going to get bad, I didn’t envision quite a collapse of that order of magnitude. As the crisis continues however, the possibility suddenly seems to become credible.
I found the comments interesting in the Boing Boing post. It seems as though quite a number of people were actually starting to find themselves in situations reminiscent of those described in the first post – primarily from posters in the US. Scary.
While reading this article in The Economist, the section on rising inequality leapt out at me. The newspaper suggested that technology may be to blame. This is certainly a situation that I’ve been expecting for a while.
In contrast to the Singularity proposed by Vernor Vinge, I believe that as people become more educated, have better tools, and live longer, it will be harder and harder for young, less well educated, and poorer people to compete. This will stratify society.
The Redshift theory basically categorizes computing needs as either growing faster or slower than Moore’s Law. Traditional business is over-served by Moore’s Law, whereas applications such as financial market simulations, drug industry research, computer animation, and the high-growth end of the internet industry (Facebook, You-Tube, Flickr), are needing computing resources faster than Moore’s Law. These industries are apparently the ones going to generate above-GDP levels of return to an investor.
This theory was advanced by Greg Papadopoulos of Sun Microsystems. One of Sun’s solutions for servicing the computing needs of “Redshifting” companies is Project Blackbox – providing as much computing power as possible inside a shipping container.