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“A long exposure shot of car taillights trailing in a timelapse down a dark road” by PAUL SMITH on Unsplash

The edge is not zero

How the changes are changing how we change

by Mike Meyer

I’m out on the edge. We are all out on the edge. I need to work my way around this because things are changing in a new way at a new rate. To me the analogy is a new gear because an important part of my youth was tied to that earlier technology. But this is only slightly like that because there were only four gears but new ones keep getting added. Try it, wow, there’s another one. How many have we gone through? How fast are we going?

Warp factor overdrive. Technical production is breaking us apart. What does this mean? Bad and good but bad becoming good and good becoming bad. That’s not what is happening even though it is what it seems because our language is failing at a rate that takes our breath away.

I spent years wondering what this would be like. Technically driven paradigmatic change is a geometric progression when we haven’t evolved beyond arithmetic progressions. We count pretty well but when things start moving in logarithmic leaps we lose it. Some of us, but not all.

Now we need to get beyond the dyadic world of our ancestors. Hot-cold, old-new, hard-soft, right-left, good-bad just don’t cut it anymore. Those logarithmic leaps are not steps but the sliding process of tones like Gershwin's beginning to Rhapsody in Blue. He didn’t right it that way but it got played that way and, as they say, there was no looking back. Who would even want to look back? Not me. Not you.

We’re hooked. Now we’re reacting with the idea that Facebook is bad and we should stop. Yes, we’ll quit or take a break. But it is only the old reactions. Google already has it covered. The next Androids will tell us when we are too far in. Hey, dude, take a break. Time to stretch and take a walk. Wait, that’s now. The next is too far into the virtual world. Pop back out for a bit. Reorient, see how things have changed. Does anyone still understand you when you talk?

Maybe, maybe not. But some will and the surprise will surprise you both because suddenly things are much, much clearer. That’s the shift, the change, the paradigm frayed and knitted into a new reality. Damn, that happens fast.

This is what it’s like. And I really like it. It scares me in a good way. It’s been confusing for a long time and scary. Then it starts to make sense. We lose it again and then find it again. Another shift.

Email has moved to text and chat. Voice is a version of chat. The web is gone because that was like a magazine and now it is a visual conversation. That is much, much better. But the other side is not a person. Is it a meme? Sometimes you can tell but other times you can’t.

Many don’t realize that Tiffany on the help screen chat who was really quick and nice is not a person. Well, not the old kind of person but the new kind of person who knows their limits but does what they do really well. Does it matter that you don’t know? She may have been a he to start and became a she when she ceased to be a person. Or maybe you just assumed that because it made you feel right. But you got your answer.

This shift is at that point where we cease to know. Some get really scared. Some get crazy but they are usually old and not too bright. And they’re slashing things and screaming at their families and voting for idiots who know even less than they do.

That is strange, too, because we feel sorry for them because they think they are incredibly powerful and dangerous. And they are, but not in the way that they think. All of us shifting away from that see them and worry but they are pushing buttons that are no longer connected. The buttons are words that no longer have that meaning. We can only hope the increasingly intelligent systems will stop them in the end. Things just don’t work the way they think so they are always angry. But we are moving away from their world and the links are getting erratic. That’s how this is breaking us apart.

Listen to Trump, or Giuliani, or Ben Carson. Or your uncle. They make no sense and they don’t seem to know it. They say strange and very stupid things and they think they are winning. But there is no more win or lose there is only continuous movement to an evolving virtual world. Those words are meaningless to them. Why don’t they stop? You can’t win when there is nothing to win but only things you can temporarily lose. Others will win and that is all that matters. We all win then. The sums are ceasing to be zero. But not in their world.

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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