Friday Flow #44
I read an essay this week that Isaac Asimov wrote in 1964 in which he tried to imagine the world as it would look by 2014, 50 years later. Here's a few of his predictions:
Breakfasts you can order the night before for a specified hour the next morning. We got Deliveroo and DoorDash, I guess?
The tech we now take for granted: video calling and screens you could use to view books, documents and photographs. Basically, iPads?
One of my favourites: that robots would be present but neither very common nor good. He not only was spot on, but was so practical about how long it would take us to get to AI.
Electroluminescent panels on ceilings and walls that glowed softly in several colours we could change with a button. We don’t quite have that but we’re pretty close with smart lighting.
Appliances with long-lived batteries and no more need for wires. Not sure how long lived he had in mind but we do have our most important devices running on all-day batteries—our phones, tablets, laptops, headphones.
Self-driving cars (almost there) and hovercraft (not yet).
People become tenders of machines more than of organic life and coding being a critical skill to stay relevant. And a simultaneous loss of purpose and meaning (which he calls “boredom”) that’d make psychiatry the most important specialty. Not sure it’s the “most important” but it’s certainly gotten closer than ever.
You can read the entire essay here: Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014
Uniformity kills unity (essay)
I wrote this week about what makes uniformity such a dangerous thing. This is another of those essays I’ve been thinking about a long time but not actually written on. So write I did. Here’s how it begins:
We tend to mistake uniformity for unity.
Uniformity is about looking the same, while unity is about actually being one.This means that unity is internal: it begins with agreeing on some fundamentals as being most important and then working together to build in alignment with those fundamentals. Uniformity, on the other hand, is external: looking similar, and even acting similarly, but without that internal agreement actually present.
Uniformity, in other words, often looks like unity. Except it’s not.
Even worse, uniformity can kill the possibility of unity.
Click the button below to read the rest:
Since we’re talking about unity…
Even the most fearsome tree must stand with all the other trees in the forest.