By the time I finished writing TCGC, at the beginning of this year, I had only three examples to offer of what I believed to be the game-changing power of modern communication technology: the use of mobile phones to foment and organize unrest in Iran (population 75 million) and Moldova (population 4 million), and the use of the Internet to elect Barack Obama to the most powerful political office on the planet. Since then the Internet and mobile telephones have played a crucial role in effecting political change in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, while keeping the pot boiling in Syria, Bahrain, Iran, and Yemen. Meanwhile, out of nowhere has come a cry of pain and rage that began with a handful of demonstrators in New York near the temples of financial power and has quickly spread around the world. All in a period of 10 months!
It was the anticipation of accelerating change that led me to predict in TCGC that the Coalescence “will take place within the lifetime of the majority of people living today.” But this is moving much faster than I had expected. It is impossible to say how all this will turn out. After political changes as a result of the Arab Spring, capitalism will continue to provide the dominant social framework. However the latest Occupy Wall Street movement (and all its variations) develops, the important lesson is the existence of the communication system itself, the medium rather than the message. there will be other messages. There will be other movements, other tactics. They will grow in size, in speed, and in spontaneity. Until finally . . . the Coalescence.
Here is Matisyahu’s version of One Day, which is now being widely played in Israel.
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Human Labor is being replaced by cyber technology. The Covid 19 pandemic has accelerated this transition. Automation, Robotization, Nano Technology, Computers, Artifical Intelligence are more efficient because technology does not need a wage, health insurance, vacations, holidays, sick days, holidays, raises, bonuses, promotions, retirement benefits, or any other fringe benefits, or limited hours of operation. If they malfunction they get adjusted, repaired, or replaced. How will people survive without an income? Technology keeps accelerating at more and more rapid paces. I don’t have a solution but this is a serious issue.
The Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus was premature in his anticipation of population increases, he did not anticipate petroleum. Farmers used to keep soil healthy by rotating crops. Now they use petroleum and chemicals to fertilize the soil and we monocrop, and apply insecticides and pesticides; we are killing the soil. In the early 19th century 95% of the U.S. population, at that time, lived on a farm. Now it is 3%. We now have huge corporate farms. Fmaily farms are disappearing. We keep polluting the air, soil, and potable water. The Ogallala aquifer, which supplies the midwest, is being depleted and people have to drill deeper wells to obtain the water which still exists. It is not getting replenished, it is no that type of an aquifer. I will be curious to see how you approach these issues. In the U.S. we manipulate 95% of the streams and rivers. We concentrate on immediate needs, not long term solutions and consequences. Unintended Consequences are the excuse which corporate America defends itself with. The claim they are Unintended but that doesn’t mean that they don’t know what the consequences will be.
To Tom Pritchard: I like you two sets of comments and shall comment thereon soon.
May I thank Walter one more time for giving us the opportunity to ‘stir the pot’ or ‘think out of the box’.
As a former Professor of IT and as someone who has prepared numerous papers on subjects hinging on technology (see the IISRT web site, via link provided below) allow me to throw in a few subjects: digitalization, e-Commerce, crypto currency, bitcoin, Cryto with coins and tokens, ECB Plan for digital Euro, CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency), barter electronically …