Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My miracle can beat up your miracle

If it's Wednesday it must be Morford going on about how the age of technological miracles constantly leapfrogs itself and has rendered us blasé about it all.

Did you notice? The wow factor of what our consumer tech can do is now so routinely high, so commonplace, we look right past the fact we’re no longer heading toward a truly miraculous tech age; we’re already there.
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It’s sort of embarrassing. Battles absolutely rage among pale geeks, and even many consumers, over the most inane and miniscule application tics, hang-ups, lack of a certain phenomenal feature in this or that device. It would all be sweet and hilarious, if it wasn’t so frequently hateful and nasty.

It’s like two na├»ve snobs fighting over the saltiness of the caviar. It’s like arguing over the brand of jet fuel used in the Lear. It’s an embarrassment of riches, with both sides attacking each other over whose enormous pile of gold coins is slightly glitterier on a given day, from a given angle, if you’re wearing the right slouchy hoodie and never have sex.

Sweetheart, can’t you see? It’s a goddamn pile of gold coins. No one cares which one’s slightly better at drunk texting your ex-girlfriend via slurred voice command in the dark. Check that: far too many still care, and modern culture is the worse for it.
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So it goes for the current state of everyday tech. We’re all driving ridiculous, luxury sports cars now. Even the most basic smart phones can now perform what would be seen as stupefying miracles just a handful of years ago. Any mobile web browser running on any platform can effortlessly reveal the universe. We all have access to everyday tech so advanced, it is indistinguishable from magic.

So smile, biped. Quit fighting about utter nonsense. It’s nearly impossible to make a “bad” choice in the upmarket, high-tech category anymore. You exist in rarefied, first-world air. You are surrounded by magic and wonder. It’s when we stop noticing that fact that the real trouble begins.
It's absolutely impossible for me to make a "bad" choice of these gadgets and gizmos. I don't have any of them other than a computer and don't plan to. I'm surrounded by magic and wonder anyway. It's called "life".

6 comments:

DBK said...

Magic is a subject that I often find amusing when technology I discussed. "Miracle is magical and magical is art, it's the boy in the bubble and the baby with the baboon's heart". When I was in college, so many years ago that marijuana was illegal, gay people couldn't get married anywhere, and I was programming on PUNCH CARDS, which most of these children have never heard of unless they watched Desk Set one Christmas, my Engineering Physics major roommate suggested that calculators would one day render mathematics into magic. His point was that, during the Dark Ages, people who could do mathematics were regarded as magicians. The calculator makes the need to understand the underlying factors in most mathematical operations irrelevant. And now the person working the cash register need not even know how to read numbers, just how to scan a bar code or push a photo of the object being purchased. Math is becoming irrelevant except to an elite band of magicians who make it all work. And mathematics is the language of the universe. "These are the days of miracle and wonder, this is the long distance call, the way the camera follows us in slo-mo, the way we look to us all."

Gordon said...

I think we will be regarded as wizards after the grid goes down because we know how to use a pencil and paper. Probably get burned at the stake for it too.

DBK said...

Funny you should mention that. I may have to go out of town on business next week and was thinking I would leave the laptop home and take all my notes with a pen and paper. Then I realized that the day may be coming when pens and paper will be rare and I may need to start hoarding.

DBK said...

Oh, and I should mention, per my original comment, that marijuana was illegal when I was in college, but children, it was very easy to get and it wasn't nearly as good as the reefers you get these days. Man, the stuff they grow these days is as amazing as smartphones.

Gordon said...

You can still get POW (Plain Old Weed). The "one hit, no shit!" stuff is a lot more expensive, sells by the gram out here.

DBK said...

I haven't paid for weed in decades. I know people who grow it. Plus I only get a little of it about once a year when I get in the mood and ask. I'm not really much of a head. But weed is one of those things that has advanced with technology. Varieties were never really that well identified when I was young and they weren't cloned to ensure repetition of quality. We used to know varieties by names like "Lamb's Breath", which was a Jamaican variety, and "Skunk Weed", which was comparable to modern varieties. Oh, and "Panama Red" and "Acapulco Gold", of course. But mostly it was "Mexican", "Jamaican", "sensemilla" (which meant seedless, i.e., the males were culled and the females allowed to grow without insemination). Now you can consult the internet for lists of varieties and their properties. OG Kush, Buddha's Delight, Mr Nice, and so on, and the properties are repeated in the varieties because the strains are more carefully controlled. The botany has become very precise. In a way, it is a technological advance.