1.26 The futuremakers


Metropolis

What would happen if we were to give up what we know?

If we were to walk away cherished traditions, could it enable us to become more of who we are?

Could we create a new, networked ecology that could sustain a digitally connected humanity?

The coded world makes connections. Rather than the ‘either/or’ conundrum about whether man or machine will dominate this next age, maybe we should think about how we can co-exist better with entities other than ourselves now that we are more connected. Is it too much to ask that we focus on developing better inter-relationships and find a higher ground for the human spirit using data?

We are futuremakers, living in an age when destiny doesn’t have to be entirely random, a world where everything can be made and measured.

We’re living in a time when the prospect of human fusion with machines is real and an age of singularity is drawing near, and we can learn from the patterns of history, from the long data, to figure out how to evolve best in the face of it.

Code provides us with a heightened form of intelligence. Used judiciously, it is a way to create a more conscious and collective understanding of ourselves as an appreciation of how near or far our intentions match up with our actions.

As neuroscience amasses enormous amounts of information about the optimal states of being for the human condition, coding means that our human needs and wants can become increasingly well met and manifested. What might be the outcome of the choices we make then be, with all that we have at our technological fingertips?

Whatever we manifest and choose to manage using technology, the outcomes that ensue as a result will depend on what we focus on, each of us, as the makers of our own digital footprints.

Code enhances the world based on how we place our collective attention as digital humans. Each of us gets to decide whether we will accept arguments made in the absence of good data or settle for the default settings technology sets up as part of their programs for us.

As digital humans, our resources are immense and abundant. A 21st Century enlightenment is on offer in the idea that as we become more technical we can also connect more deeply with our essential selves. We can use technology to answer our soulful cries, and satisfy the aspirations we have to be the best that we can be.

The paradox of the binary Digital age is technology opens up ways we can connect to and understand more fully what it is to be human. The Digital Era’s promise is that smarter sensors can enable us to identify, understand and meet those needs more accurately – needs that include the requirement for food, shelter, purpose identity, security, love and sustainability. The curse of code is the tyranny of data and data alone, without a heightened collective wisdom and quest towards better, and more meaningful life from it.

Our connected world is easier to access than ever before. The Digital Era means we can conscientiously develop the potential that each of us have, as unique identifiers on the web, learning from the best of what’s around us. It multiplies the opportunity and ability humanity has to make itself and the world around it better using data.

This point in human history is one of a great change. It’s a tremendous time to look at where we’ve come from and where we might be going.

We can ask questions about what our identity as humans is, and what we might choose it to be, using code, and we can think about what we do next, as we go past the first spurts of digital growth into a more mindful technical development.

Our finale?

The Director of Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, Nick Bostrom, has said he believes the advance of technology has already overtaken our capacity to control the possible consequences. If that’s the case, then shouldn’t we be taking stock of humanity, and how do we do it?

There are 24 hours to world time, wherever you happen to be on the planet. The basis for scientific time is a continuous count of seconds based on atomic clocks around the world, known as the International Atomic Time. Time is a universal unit of measurement.

The meter is another universal unit of measurement. One length is based on 1/10,000,000 of the distance between the North Pole and the Equator. It took seven years to complete the measurement,as established on March 1791 by the Academie of Sciences by Pierre Mechant Jean-Baptise Delombre. The metre is a precise, organic universal measurement of life on earth.

The kilo is a universal measure of weight, based on the mass of one litre of water. These universal and unchanging measurements are how we define and measure matter, and they have established cornerstones of human existence. They are drawn from unwavering truths that come from natural, not synthetic, origins. Interestingly they were all developed after revolution, as a response to it, a means of helping to define a new order.

For ourselves, we’ve yet to create a universal measure for humanity. After code has revolutionised the world and taken over might not be the best time to do it.

How might we identify and nurture fundamental qualities and attributes of the human condition as we enter an age of data, ensuring that with the arrival of code we endure, we preserve our human sense today and code doesn’t end up eroding it? How can we have a relationship with code in which we can thrive as open-source individuals, not robots?

We owe it to ourselves to consider what our birthright is as humans before we cede it to the cloud; how we might protect human identity in the face of code.

‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme’ Mark Twain once said.

I think we can write better poetry using code together, and it starts with us.

Futuregazing 2

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