Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Plurk'd, Twitter'd, and Tumblr'd

Do people "get" Twitter?  Do they "get" Second Life?  Judging from articles and stuff I read, no, most people don't get most of the important advances in communications technology at all.  And that's what they are, communications technologies.  People communicating with people, albeit in a way that a seeming 75% of those people don't actually "get."

For about a year now I've only been into SL to fix problems for sandbox users, and used Twitter mainly to keep an eye on a steadily growing group of friends - whom I also keep up with on Friendfeed, Plurk, Flickr, Facebook, and a growing number of blogs and photo/microblog/video/location services.  It's not that I am afraid those people will slip through the net or that I might miss a gem of wisdom -- rather, it's because those services aren't all duplications of each other.  They each have distinct purposes, and convey different information.  Even when you look at two microblogging services, they have different aims and people use them for subtly different things.

Well, those that get it, they manage to use them in subtly different ways, anyway.  It's what differentiates he savvy from the unwashed.  To me, there are now two types of people in the world, those that can and then the rest.  I also think that people can gradually absorb the technology, but not lose it.  A bit like walking, you never forget.

Tonight I logged into SL and chatted to someone I hadn't met there for a good six months, and as usual we swapped building tips and good locations to build at.  And it amazed me how quickly I was back doing all the things that make a good builder in SL, examining and prodding at everything the other person was showing me, keeping an eye on the various group messages, trying the builds out for myself...

And then it hit me - in the whole of my life over the last year and a bit, the world around me has been changing, weather patterns are different, politics changed forever, the economy in freefall and recovery, everything changing almost by the day.  And the most malleable and innovative place in my life, Second Life, has been the most stable and the least changed...  That's how I measure how well the users "get" something - if it's a good application that does its job, then it doesn't have to be changed because enough people will stick with it and make it their own.

Anyhow - I said all that to set this up - an article that says we'll have indoor holidays and robot prostitutes.  I'm particularly impressed with a "visionary" who doesn't actually seem to get what he's talking about...

Before you go telling me that he must be right cos he's a perfesser, think on this:  He claims to have factored in all the elements, climate change, technology, blah blah yada yada so why are his lips moving and all I smell is gently steaming male cow wastes?

I'll tell you why, it's because of the "...costs for basics such as electricity and food increased..." among other things.  Paradoxically, as we pass peak oil and start generating really cheap sustainable energy from ever cheaper wind wave and solar energy collectors, Yeoman reckons electricity will increase in cost.  And what's his brilliant answer to those posited higher costs?  Of course!  Why didn't I think of it?  Instead of doing what operators have been doing for millennia and exploiting poor people, we're all going to use more robots that run on electricity!  Unless his robots actually run on melted-down poor people...

And those "giant cruise ships" - what are they going to be powered by?  Bullshit?  Cos there's a headstart being made on that fuel source, I tell ya...  And of course we're going to just keep making ever larger and more environmentally unfriendly wastes of resources like those cruise ships and refrigerated covered ski slopes in the tropics because they don't waste resources and electricity like crazy - right?  Yeah right...  

Resources - all resources - are stretching thinner and thinner, so I doubt that being seen prodigiously wasting them will be seen as a Good Thing in another few years, and certainly most of the world will frown when those precious resources are thrown away on a holiday destination...

Also he's blaming the need on the old "ageing population" crap.  Come on, how many more generations of people does he think will become old weak frail cripples, especially when there's a choice of wasting resources on building a holiday destination for the geriatric frail aged or using those resources to make sure bodies don't age and infirmities don't eventuate?

I'm also having a problem with his dystopic future where it seems that most people won't have employment because those sneaky robots will have usurped all the jobs, working as they will for that hellaciously expensive electricity rather than a few dollars an hour.  And of course that presumes that there will still be people with jobs that can afford to visit one of those holiday attractions, seeing how robots have taken all the jobs.  How do the customers in his vision earn the money they will spend?  To cover those gigantic food and electric costs?  Something here is not a balanced economy.

Those are the main reasons I think that here's another person that just doesn't "get" what they're talking about, and I only hope he starts learning through osmosis, the basic facts and figures of what the next fifty years hold for us.  I don't think that any of those visions will come true except as one-off projects that will survive as curiosities.

I'm more inclined to say that as electricity becomes the preferred power source over fossil fuels, and it becomes apparent that it's harder to fly Mohammed to the mountain by electric transport than it is to send a VR mountain to Mohammed's computer, this "blabber" that's currently not understood by so many will become the lingua franca (and eventually the mother tongue,) and a lot more holidays will be carried out a good deal closer to home, and a lot more often than just once a year.

And you can Plurk, Twitter, and Tumblr that.

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