Strike up a conversation

Posted on: November 30th, 2010 by Barney Willis No Comments

It’s 7.40am on a work day, bitterly cold, there’s another malignant tube strike and I’ve just waited far too long for a bus again. If my dog came bouncing up to me full of hope and then promptly died, it would make the moment complete right now.

In response to this, during my last 12 years of living in London standard procedure would be to scowl hypnotically at the street, use my Metro as an umbrella and incessantly curse the world, my bewildered dog included. However as this is 2010, this largely redundant time is filled with the comforting reassurance of my favorite podcasts, while I surf the internet on my iPhone and type this blog on my Blackberry. It was during this gloomy hour of the morning that I randomly watched a 3 minute YouTube video, posted on a friend of mine’s Facebook wall. Apart from the topical relevance of my circumstances at the time, it struck a chord and I thought I would like to share it with you. It’s from the late Arthur C Clarke who in 1964, predicted how the future would look like in the year 2000;

You can see it here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOaZspeSBZU

The first thing that occurred to me (apart from the Cholmondley-Warner style rendition), was that heart warmingly, Clarke suggested that the future will be fantastic. This good news was cemented by the fact that never mind blogging, facebook or email, this recording was pre-computer, mobile, and largely the colour TV, so his predictions of a networked world are surprisingly accurate. Advancements in communication were expected to facilitate instant contact with our friends anywhere in the world despite their physical location, for example be that Bali or Thailand (as opposed to the tropical serenity of Waterloo). Surgeons in Edinburgh can operate on patients in New Zealand, and the restrictions of cities will no longer make any sense. The whole world he said, would reduce to a single point. In hindsight there’s not a single prediction, as hair brained as it may have seemed at the time, which hasn’t come completely true.

It made me think it would have been nice to ask him his thoughts for the next 50 years for the internet and email. Or current to right now, what are his thoughts on Google’s Priority Inbox and ‘Facebook messages’? Do they represent a fairly major shift in our channel which will herald another milestone in the way companies communicate online? Personally, I would have also liked to ask Mr. Clarke if he could also see Facebook with it’s walled garden policies becoming the equivalent of a 1984 style totalitarian internet dictator, or whether that was just my opinion. You can find more about Arthur C Clarke's predictions  on the Singularity Hub blog.

As I jumped off my over crowded bus, some way from my destination as the recording finished, Mr. Clarke rounded off with ‘and in the very near future people will no longer commute, they will communicate’. Given the anarchy at Waterloo this morning this was the best news of all, but perhaps that was nothing to do with communication, there were probably terrible tube strikes in 1964 too.

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