The Future Of Tech, Work, Education and Living Post COVID-19

This year’s COVID-19 pandemic has been highly disruptive in many areas of our lives. As I type this article, there have been statistically nearly 5.5 million cases and almost 350,000 deaths from this pandemic around the world. In addition to the toll this virus has taken on peoples’ lives, there have been grave economic ramifications. Many businesses and industries have been hit hard and as a consequence millions of people have either lost their jobs or have had to take a pay cut.

The unstoppable growth of the internet over the last 20 years has had a profound effect on our lives. It could already be said that we live in both the physical world and the virtual world. Yet during the lockdown period of the last several weeks, we have been spending considerably more time in the latter world. The growth of the internet has already had a noticeable effect on the physical high street as more people do their shopping online. Yet, the lockdown restrictions, at times, have given people no choice, but to buy almost all their groceries online thus increasing greatly the rate of e-commerce transactions. We have also been interacting much more with other people virtually, both for work and pleasure. And as educational institutions remain shut, or at least severely restricted, we have been doing a lot more learning online.

In an article I wrote back in 2017, I discussed new and emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) and how they could change people lives, especially in the areas of education. As students are still currently unable to physically go to university and attend lectures, much of their courses and lectures are now online. In my 2017 article, I discussed how via VR technology one could be completely immersed in a setting and interact with it from anywhere with an internet connection. The education industry has long needed such a change. One of the biggest current problems facing young people is the unbelievably high costs of going to university. By the time they have graduated, they are saddled with staggering sums of debt. Yet I have long felt that it doesn’t always have to be that way and that given time, technology would soon provide a much needed solution to this issue. Even though I went to university and got my degree many years ago, I find that a lot of all the most recent knowledge I have gained has been via content online. I, of course, also supplement this knowledge with books in both physical and digital form. There is so much free and good quality educational content out there on the web. And I am also happy to pay for exceptional online resources too. Yet the total amount of money I pay is still far less than what I would pay going to universities, where tuition fees in the UK are currently still over £9k per year.

In an earlier article from 2016, I discuss how VR could potentially change all aspects of our lives, not just within the realms of education. During the lockdown period, the video communications app Zoom has taken off in a big way. Zoom has been the default option for not just video calls between family and friends, but also for remote working and playing. By the latter, I mean having a kind of ‘virtual night out’. Rather than physically going out to a bar or club with friends, Zoom has been used as a virtual platform for replicating a physical night out. VR and AR are both powerful emerging technologies and now is the perfect time for them to be harnessed to a greater level. Interacting via Zoom is still a 2D experience, yet VR and AR have the potential to make this a more immersive 3D experience. This would reduce the chasm greatly between the physical and virtual worlds.

There is no question that remote work will continue to grow and these new and emerging technologies will accelerate this growth. Yet will traditional office spaces be made completely redundant? It is tempting to go down this route and its currently all the rage to have the belief that this virus will make the traditional office space obsolete as an increasing number of workers find the option of remote work to be more appealing and perfectly feasible. To be clear, as I already stated, there is no doubt in my mind that remote/virtual work will grow, yet I think it’s at this stage too premature to say that the traditional physical office environment is dead. Even if technology develops exponentially, we are still, fundamentally, organic human beings and creatures of emotion more than logic. As long as we remain 100% organic human beings, we will still long for that human touch and physical interaction. I think to completely 100% forsake the physical world for the virtual world, we will need to physically merge with technology. I am with the futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil on his prediction for the coming Singularity in 2045 when Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be at the same level as human intelligence. This will be, arguably, the most significant event in human history and I will never bet against the infinite potential of AI. If software is currently eating the world, soon it will be AI. Yet as AI becomes further developed, the options for us to merge with technology will also arrive. AI, rather than posing an existential threat, I believe, will make our lives easier and more comfortable. What’s more, it will also enhance our lives and enable us to reach our fullest potential.

Going back to the topic of post COVID living, could the development of cities/urban spaces be affected? What if there was a growing trend whereby there was an increasing migration from cities to more rural areas? For some time, as technology improved – more specifically; internet speeds and bandwidth improved further – there has been already to a small degree such a trend. You can go and live in the remotest part of the country, but if you have access to a high speed internet connection over there, then you have full sophisticated access to the virtual world no different to that in a big city no matter how remote the physical environment may be. Yet will there ever be a complete deurbanisation type of migration where the physical location of people is much more fragmented? If such a migration were to happen in the near future and we are still 100% organic beings, we will be incredibly reliant on the virtual world and by extension the cell towers connected to our internet providers. Even if SpaceX, via its Starlink project, intends to beam super-fast satellite internet on all corners of the world in the next few years, for now we are still reliant on onshore cell towers as the source of the internet. This is quite a fragile situation, as any disruption to these cell towers disrupts the internet itself and thus a great chunk of our lives. We become instantly irritated with slow internet speeds let alone having no internet. It is amazing how dependent on the internet most of the world is. The cells towers providing the internet are powered by electricity and electricity is powered by energy from both renewable and non-renewable sources. In spite of all the technological advances since the first Industrial Revolution, we have still not found a permanent and workable solution to the long standing energy problem, that is, how do we generate an abundant and unlimited supply of energy for every corner of the world without having to tap into any non-renewable sources?

I sometimes feel that I overestimate the speed of technological development. Earlier in the last decade,  I thought that within the next few years (now), every household would have a 3D printer and the smartphone would be replaced by some form of smart-glasses with fully integrated and advanced VR and AR technologies. This has simply not happened. Even if these technologies may be available in some shape or form, we still use smartphones. The smartphones of today may be more sophisticated than the smartphones of just a few years ago, but they are still smartphones. Our interaction with the virtual world remains a 2-D experience. This is why I feel that in order for us to live completely in the virtual world with little to no living in the physical world, we have to adopt some form of transhumanism where our minds and bodies are fully integrated with technology.

Going back to the economic ramifications of the current COVID-19 pandemic, I wonder whether, at least in the short to medium term, the concept of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) may become more widely adopted? Already technology has been automating many menial and repetitive jobs that has resulted not only in vast swathes of people losing their jobs, but also in these same people being ‘left behind’ as technology marches on. This is a serious concern as such people become naturally angry and turn to political parties and figures who echo and amplify their frustrations rather than turn to transformative solutions. The virus has hit hard industries requiring a constant physical presence. Some of these industries that have been hit hard such as, for example, the physical high street retail industry, has long already been affected by the growth of the internet. This virus has almost been like the final nail in the coffin.

Technology never stands still and the number of people using the internet will only keep growing. If you look at the S&P 500 (the top 500 companies) you will see that the biggest companies today are all technology companies. My concern however is with the demise of all these low skilled repetitive jobs. Although I personally think that a lot of these jobs are time wasting jobs (and time is an increasingly scarce and valuable asset), which offer no spiritual or intellectual nourishment, many people are employed in such jobs and depend on the income for their survival. If such jobs disappeared on an even greater scale and the people employed in these jobs had little or few alternative skills for other jobs, how will they survive? I hear a lot of emphasis on ‘learning to code’. Whilst computer programming is very useful and currently provides a lot of employment opportunities, who’s to say that such jobs also won’t get disrupted? Furthermore, why would anyone want to learn something purely for the ’employment opportunities’ it will bring? Surely one would learn computer programming, because there are interested and fascinated by it? Learning it just purely to make money seems very flawed and short sighted to me. If we want to continue to live in a capitalist economy then a Universal Basic Income may have to become more widely adopted. Otherwise the alternative is a socialist economy. I do in the long run, however, believe that we will enter a brand new kind of post-scarcity and post-work environment of abundance created by exponential technological innovations. This would transcend any economic model of the past. I wrote about this in greater depth in my article from last year entitled ‘THE TRUE SINGULARITY: A Universe Of Unlimited Abundance And Eternal Harmony’. This kind of vision for the future is also outlined very clearly in the excellent 2011 book by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler ‘Abundance’. Yet in order for this to become a closer reality, we also cannot take technological development for granted. One of the early internet pioneers and entrepreneurs, Marc Andreessen, wrote a recent article entitled ‘Its Time To Build’ talking about this. We cannot take innovation for granted and rest on the laurels of the technological advancements of the past. When the virus hit the world, we were unprepared. There was no available vaccine to protect us. Thus we had to adopt measures that have been very disruptive to our daily living. Several companies may currently be working on a cure and it could still be several more months before one is in place, but the point is there was no available permanent remedy at the time. Technology may have provided many vital solutions to long standing limitations, yet, as is currently clear, there are so many more limitations that require solutions. And it is only via continuing to innovate and build that we can ensure that these other limitations begging to be solved are solved.

 

By Nicholas Peart 

Published on 24th May 2020

(c)All Rights Reserved

 

Image: qimono

A World Where Everybody Is An Entrepreneur Doing Something They Love

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This is an article I originally posted on Elixtacy on July 10th 2017

 

We are currently living in a time of great technological transformations. The internet has created enormous opportunities for individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses. The most clear game changer with the internet is the direct peer to peer contact it offers with all kinds of people from all around the world. It creates a fabulous opportunity to develop an online business or project in something you truly love and enjoy. In the process, you get to directly connect with many different people finding potential fans and clients who appreciate, love and value what you are doing.

 

Moving away from old Industrial Age model jobs

Currently many people are still stuck in Industrial Age jobs. These jobs are often of a repetitive nature even if, for now, they may provide a stable income and job security. And it could be argued that many people who do these kind of jobs don’t enjoy them (even if they may pretend that they do) and do them purely for the money. Yet these are the jobs most at risk from automation. These are not just jobs in the retail, manufacturing, construction, transport and basic service industries but also high skilled jobs in the legal, financial and, ironically, even tech industries (there will come a time when AI will be able to do most of the programming/data analysing jobs and create better software than humans can).

 

Tapping into your creativity 100%

When the above scenario occurs, instead of the dystopian reality that many predict, people will have a great opportunity to develop a business or project doing something they truly love. They will be using their creativity 100%. They will have to. They will have no other choice. It will be the most important “commodity” we have to offer. The alternative option is to be part of a society of “useless people” (a most disempowering term) who constantly lament about how they used to have a solid job and no longer have it due to automation. These are people who sadly haven’t tapped into their creative resources and the immense power within themselves. Instead they fail to change/adapt and are constantly stuck in the past. A very sad state of affairs but it doesn’t have to be like this!

 

The importance of using your initiative

In our current society only a small segment of the population use their initiative. Most people are crippled by fear, anxiety and low levels of self esteem to take the initiative to start their own business or project. They are more comfortable applying for a limited and dwindling supply of jobs. But one day in the future everyone may be forced to use their initiative. Yet it will be by utilising their creative gifts to their fullest capacity. After automation has made obsolete many jobs in existence our creativity will be king and the entire global economy will be full of individual entrepreneurs and startups all utilising their creativity and operating in something they love, which even benefits and contributes to society in a meaningful way. It will be a truly pure and direct sharing economy of people interacting and transacting with their unique services.

 

By Nicholas Peart

(c)All Rights Reserved

How 3D Printing Could Be The Biggest Thing To Affect Our Lives Since The Internet

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I’ve been very interested in 3D Printing for a few years now. What fascinates me the most about this technology is the awesome and unlimited potential it has. Currently it is still at a very embryonic stage in terms of its development but, like the internet before it, its potential is enormous. 3D Printing has the power to transform and effect many different industries. I am listing a few of these industries below.

 

The Manufacturing Industry

This is the industry which I think will be most affected by 3D Printing. Already large segments of the global mass manufacturing industry are automated via Robotics and AI. As 3D Printing develops and evolves more and more, it will be able to greatly increase the productivity of this industry and even contribute towards automating it to even greater levels than robotics. In fact, 3D Printing may even have the power to completely disrupt the entire mass manufacturing industry. This is especially true after this technology has become truly mainstream and every home not just has a basic 3D printer, but one that is capable of printing almost any kind of 3D object imaginable using just the basic raw materials. Once 3D Printing has got to this stage of development and has matured as an important consumer technology, then one could say that every household is a factory. People would be able to create and customise any physical good they want through simply taking the designs of the products and applying them to the 3D printer. This could severely disrupt businesses whose business model is based mostly on manufacturing goods, especially at the mass level.

 

The Construction Industry

The construction industry is the next obvious industry to be affected by 3D Printing after the manufacturing industry. As with the manufacturing industry, it has the potential to increase efficiency and productivity as well as save costs and time. The construction industry is also a potentially dangerous industry for human labour and any building physically constructed by humans will always be vulnerable to flaws and errors. Yet 3D Printing with a double dose of robotics and strong AI has the potential to create buildings more robust and in less time than humans can and without the labour costs involved. And as these technologies develop further, it will be possible to 3D print entire cities. And why stop at building on dry land? Perhaps one day in the distant future when these technologies are at a level far greater than our comprehension, it may even be possible to 3D print domed cities under water. A crazy notion but with out of this world technology anything is possible.

 

The Medical Industry

The medical industry and our lives and health have the power to be greatly augmented by 3D printing. Already the technology has the ability to print prosthetic arms and legs. Yet 3D printed bones and organs are a real possibility. 3D printed organs will already reduce the enormous waiting list of patients waiting for organ transplants, especially for kidneys and livers. And what if the 3D printed organs were more developed and healthy than the healthiest of donated organs? 3D Printing combined with other groundbreaking emerging technologies in the biotech sector like stem cell technology, genetic engineering and nanotechnology have the power to achieve this.

 

I am looking forward to experiencing how 3D Printing will further develop and more importantly how it will greatly assist and make our lives easier as well as being an amazing resource to make our lives more efficient and aid us in reaching greater heights. Already there are a number of growing 3D Printing start ups and businesses all trying to further develop this amazing technology.

What is becoming increasingly clear with the way emerging technologies are developing, and will develop, is that our ideas and creativity will be our greatest assets. These technologies will help us expand our ideas and creativity and realise them to the greatest levels possible.

 

By Nicholas Peart

©All Rights Reserved

Art And Living In The Digital World

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This is an essay I wrote towards the end of 2014 about being an artist and living in the context of our digital world. I have made a few changes since then but the general gist of the essay remains the same.

 

Today art can be split into two categories; “Pre-Internet” and “Post-Internet” art.

All the important and influential art movements are all of the Pre-Internet age. It seems to me that in this current Post-Internet age, there are no real lasting and meaningful art movements. There are of course many interesting artists today creating challenging and original works of art via digital media and who are very much in tune with the zeitgeist and more power to them. Yet there is something I long for which I feel is missing. And this is not strictly limited to artists and art. This applies to (and perhaps to a much greater degree) general living.

Before the internet the main media sources were television/video, the telephone, the radio and the printing press. The internet is all this and much much more. It enables us access to diverse and limitless quantities of information. In order to source information before the internet, most people went to libraries and even these institutions were no guarantee that you would find the specific information you were looking for. But with the internet almost all kinds of information can be accessed without having to travel to libraries or even spend valuable time and money employing people to find certain bits of information. Access to information has been truly democratised (assuming everyone has an internet connection) since the development and growth of the World Wide Web.

Today we have a whole plethora of internet related social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc. to communicate/express ourselves through. Before the internet, the only possible ways to communicate with one another apart from face to face, were via the telephone, fax, telegram or via mail (in the form of letter writing which save for a few dedicated souls is well and truly six feet underground as an art). The channels of far flung communication were limited. People were more in the woods with regards to what was happening globally.
People did not lose themselves or devote much of their time to living in “electronic virtual reality”. People actually spent much time reading books, spending their free time outside, having real relationships (we still have real relationships but these are decreasing and I believe in the wake of “hyper-immersive 3D virtual reality” more and more people will be cutting themselves off and almost be living at least half of their entire existence in this new type of virtual world. More and more people will even cease having sexual relationships since the stimulated virtual way will feel even better than the real thing).

Via the array of social media sites there are many different groups that artists join. Too many groups. A humongous vertigo-inducing fragmentation of different groups. In the context of today’s world, everything changes faster than before. This is a faster world. News travels faster. There is less mystery. Life is documented more than ever before. Through the internet, everyone can now express themselves. There are more artists today than before. Art or being an artist is not something that is taboo or contentious anymore. Things that may have been considered ‘renegade’ or less accepted in the past such as being an artist, a musician or traveling around the world are now accepted and quite conventional. To travel around the world for a year as part of a ‘gap year’ is now the done thing.

I think that to be a true artist (a most overused weird) in this current digital age is to leave no traces; no evidence of art or living. To disappear and be an eternal apparition.

Often I don’t have the guts or the humility to leave no traces. There is something intricately hardwired in me about having to ‘be somebody’. Yet as the great Indian sage Juddi Krishnamurti once said, ‘the moment we want to be someone we are no longer free’

 

By Nicholas Peart

Originally written on 27th December 2014

(All rights reserved)

 

Image source: http://www.blouinartinfo.com

Baba Vanga: The Nostradamus Of The 20th Century

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Vangelia Gushterova or Baba Vanga as she was better known was born on January 31st, 1911 in Strumica, former Yugoslavia. She is often referred to as the Nostradamus of the 20th Century for her prophecies and unique ability to foretell the future

 

The Life Of Baba Vanga

When Baba Vanga was only three years old her mother died and her father went to fight during the First World War meaning she grew up pretty much alone. Her father later remarried when she was seven years old and at the age of twelve they all moved to a town called Novo Selo where Baba Vanga went through a period of tremendous unhappiness.

One day something unusual happened which would change her life completely. She was with her cousins outside when a powerful tornado appeared and proceeded to catapult her into the air and into a field of crops some distance away. When she was eventually found in the field after a long search, witnesses say that she was very frightened and in considerable pain. Her eyes were covered in dirt and dust and she ways unable to open her eyes because of the pain. The incident left her permanently blind and she was sent to a home for blind people in a town called Zemun until the age of eighteen. Afterwards she came back home to care for her brothers and sisters after her stepmother passed away. It was during this time back at home when she experienced unusual metaphysical activities. She would often dream, hear voices, have visions and even communicate with the dead and plants. More significantly, she predicted many events which came true with unbelievable accuracy.

Some days before her death on November 11th 1996, she said the following worlds in a TV interview, “Don’t hate each other, because you are all my children!”

Also, some time before her death, she said that a blind 10 year old girl living in France would inherit her gift, and said that the world would soon hear about her.

 

Baba Vanga’s Prophecies and Their Significance Today

Many of Baba Vanga’s predictions came true. Some of the more recent events happening in the world today most notably the 9/11 attacks and the rise of ISIS have been linked to Baba Vanga’s prophecies and have put her in the spotlight.

Some of her predictions which came true include…

The beginning of WW2

The date on which Tsar Boris III died (Bulgarian king from 1918-1943)

The break-up of Czechoslovakia

The riots in Lebanon (1968)

The war in Nicaragua (1979)

The election of Indira Gandhi and her death

The break-up of the Soviet Union

The nuclear disaster in Chernobyl

The date when Stalin died

The 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami (This is linked to a prophecy she made where she said, “A huge wave will cover a big coast covered with people and towns, and everything will disappear beneath the water. Everything will melt, just like ice.”)

The 44th President of the United States would be African-American (yet she also said that he would be the last US President)

The 9/11 Twin Tower attacks (This is linked to a prophecy she made in 1989 where she reportedly said, ‘Horror, horror! The American brethren will fall after being attacked by the steel birds. The wolves will be howling in a bush, and innocent blood will be gushing’.)

The disaster of the Russian “Kursk” submarine

 

Other Predictions

There has been quite a hullabaloo recently regarding some of her other predictions. Some claim that she had warned that Muslims would invade Europe in a ‘great Muslim war’ which would conclude with the establishment of an Islamic caliphate by 2043, with the city of Rome as its capital. This prophecy has propelled conspiracy theorists to highlight the rise of ISIS as evidence.

She also forewarned how the world would change due to the effects of global warming (“Cold regions will become warm … and volcanoes will awaken”)

Other predictions include a prediction that aliens would enable civilisation to live underwater by 2130 and another that in 3005 there would be a war on Mars

Although many of her predictions came true, many also didn’t. Most notably her prediction that in 2010 there would be another world war.

 

By Nicholas Peart

2nd October 2016

(All rights reserved)

 

 

Image source: http://www.catchnews.com

 

Text sources:

http://www.baba-vanga.com/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baba_Vanga

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/baba-vanga-who-is-the-blind-mystic-who-predicted-the-rise-of-isis-a6765071.html

Virtual Reality: Further From The Source

A hundred years ago people had much more time than choice (and even only 20 years ago just before the rapid rise of the Internet). Radio was a new thing. TV wasn’t invented yet and video and the Internet were still some time off. What ‘entertainment’ distractions were there? The theatre (yes people used to go to the theatre in droves), books, newspapers, various sport and outdoor activities, musical instruments, poker, chess, backgammon, to name but a few.

With the invention of TV eventually video emerged as a major medium and would kill the radio star – or at least significantly reduce the major market share it had in the market for all global mass media communications outlets. Then it was the Internet which would upstage and threaten the video star.

With Virtual Reality one can potentially travel without moving and leaving their fixed space. Travelling Without Moving, to quote the title of an album by the pop star Jamiroquai which was released 20 years ago (what foresight Jay!). Taking into account the level of instant gratification which VR could bring combined with the Internet and the increasing sophistication of Artificial Intelligence, one could potentially satisfy all their wildest sensual wants, needs and desires without ever leaving their bedroom.

 

Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity

 

Of course the virtual world is nothing new. Any time spent surfing the Internet especially through social interaction via the many social media sites available is time spent in the virtual world (and as is any fantasy experience such as getting lost in a good book). Yet this is still a 2D virtual experience. You are fixed to it but not completely immersed in it. VR has the potential to change all that. The 3D experience it offers is still very limited but with time the potential for further development is enormous. Yet perhaps it will never be a viable substitute to real life experiences? At least I hope not. I for one would rather still travel around different parts of the world the hard way, preferably overload via clapped out public transportation. But what if sometime in the future when every nook and cranny of the world becomes connected to the Internet, travelling virtually becomes a real possibility? Google Maps has already done a sterling job in shrinking the world and making it easier to navigate than ever before. Two of the original pioneers of globalisation, the Portuguese explorers Bartholomeu Dias and Vasco Da Gama, would be astonished with this progress.

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The 15th century Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias

 

But if VR could provide even higher degrees of sensations than those experienced through real life experiences than it has a serious future. One area of pleasure that springs to mind is sex. I can with complete certainty see the growth of the virtual sex industry growing exponentially via VR as its main vehicle. And with synchronisation from additional growing technologies like haptic technology (which enables one to feel something virtually without actually physically touching it) than the potential for experiences and sensations even more intense than the real thing is very high. Yet this idea both scares and disconcerts me. This is one of the ugly sides of VR which seems unavoidable. Sex sells and there will be some people becoming obscenely wealthy through this.

 

The Digital Love Industry documentary

 

But what disconcerts me the most with VR technology is the further separation and isolation it will bring on its users. It will become so addictive and immersive, that there is a real possibility people will be living almost 100% of their days awake (un-awake spiritually) virtually. I would guess that currently many people spend at least 50% of their days awake virtually via the internet and social media sites.

What the Internet has achieved is an increased fragmentation and separation of global society (even though it has, ironically, provided the tools for greater connectivity with one another than ever before). VR has the potential to speed up this fragmentation. In spite of the rise of the net, there are still ‘hubs’ where people meet. And cities, towns and villages where people live. Communities (although decreasing) still exist. Yet if everybody were to live all of their daily lives (including their professional lives) via 3D virtual reality (and have all their provisions delivered by super fast drones), one could live anywhere in the world with an internet connection. The very concept of cities, towns and villages could blur (a wild and demented prediction but what if this occurred?).

VR could mean a future where people almost only communicate and socialise virtually. I think Facebook knows this hence their purchase of the VR company Oculus VR two years ago, which may prove to be a very shrewd move. Communicating via Facebook is still a 2D virtual experience but with the additional VR vehicle of the Oculus Rift device, this 2D experience is transformed into a 3D one. And how many Facebook users currently are there?

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Oculus Rift VR device

 

What implications would this increased disconnection from the real world have? Could there come a time when real life socialising dramatically decreases? People meeting one another face to face less? People not having real and meaningful relationships anymore? People not going to cafes, bars, pubs or clubs anymore like they used to? The rise and development of the Internet has already had a catastrophic impact on physical high street retail outlets (through the rise of e-commerce giants like Amazon), that could VR be the final (or penultimate) nail in the coffin for the high street? Could most leisure activities like nights out to pubs and clubs, social meet-ups in coffee shops, holidays abroad and travelling to exotic places, going to gigs and festivals, day trips to theme parks etc, almost disappear if VR really takes off? Such a scenario depresses me. I hope I am talking rubbish and none of these situations occur.

 

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Back to nature

 

Yet the real world is always there. No one is forcing me to be deeply sucked into VR. I can take it or leave it. The Internet and the fast pace of globalisation has already succeeded in making the world a smaller place but the world becomes a larger place again if one is prepared to free themselves from these digital shackles for just a moment.

by Nicholas Peart

13th May 2016

(All rights reserved)

Want Your Children To Survive The Future? Send Them To Art School

I am presenting you all with one of the most illuminating and forward thinking articles I’ve ever read entitled ‘Want Your Children To Survive The Future? Send Them To Art School’. The author of this article, Dustin Timbrook, talks about a ‘Post-Work’ world (which many economists and futurists are predicting) where most jobs become obsolete due to automation from growing technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing and Robotics. But what is even more interesting, and very much the heart of this article, is that when this does occur, then our creativity will be all that is left. Yet it is interesting how in today’s world the ‘Arts’ are becoming an increasingly maligned sector. Art schools are currently in danger of becoming exclusively the preserve of people who can afford to pursue an ‘arts career’ and more and more focus is put on STEM subjects. In the context of today’s world this is understandable and there will be an ever increasing demand for computer programmers and website developers (‘coding’ is the current buzzword) and workers in growing technology sectors. But what happens when there comes a time when we are just not needed any more for any jobs? I often think of the inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity prediction for 2045 when Artificial Intelligence will become on par (and subsequently more and more advanced) with human intelligence (our logical intelligence)? Suddenly we will all have lots of time on our hands (yippee!!!) and be able to put all our energies into things that interest us and that we are passionate about. It will be our creativity which will be king in this new world.

Being an artist has always been viewed as an ‘unstable career choice’. In a way, to quote Picasso, every child is born an artist. Every child is born with an innate sense of curiosity and wonder. To quote Timbrook (from a TED Talk he did in 2015), every child is ‘born weird’. But the problem is that traditionally (and today) this ‘weirdness’ and curiosity would be stifled and suppressed by the child’s parents who were (understandably) fearful of their children becoming outsiders or ‘drop outs’. By moulding them more in sync with the mores of current society, they would lose all their unique qualities and go on to do jobs they had little to no interest in doing. A recipe for a repressed and unhappy life. Yet by allowing a child’s ‘weirdness’ and sense of wonder, curiosity and creativity to flourish you are enabling a child to develop not only unique skills and traits, but gifts it will one day be able to present and share with the world and even contribute to making the world a better and happier place to live in.

Just underneath Timbrook’s article, I am also enclosing a You Tube video of his excellent TED Talk, which continues on the themes covered in his article.

by Nicholas Peart

8th May 2016

(All rights reserved)

 

 

Want Your Children To Survive The Future? Send Them To Art School   by Dustin Timbrook

http://www.rocketcitymom.com/want-children-survive-future-send-art-school/

 

Creativity Is Not A Gift – TED Talk by Dustin Timbrook