RDS Economic Recovery Series - Digital Futures April 2013


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A presentation by Gerard O'Neill to the RDS Economic Recovery Series, April 2013 http://www.rds.ie/cat_project_detail.jsp?itemID=1100177

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RDS Economic Recovery Series - Digital Futures April 2013

  1. 1. Saints & Servers Change, Choice & Challenges on the road to Ireland’s Digital FutureGerard O’NeillApril 2013
  2. 2. 1. Change: only the beginning2. Challenges: Future Shocked 3. Choices: no easy options
  3. 3. 1. Change
  4. 4. Year in which technology used by majority of Irish adults for first time: Home PC Broadband Smartphone landline 2005 2009 2012 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s Internet Facebook 2007 2011 Mobile 2000
  5. 5. €11.3Bn €5.7Bn 2016€3.7Bn 2016 2012
  6. 6. 2. Challenges
  7. 7. “In the very near future your casual behavior and activities will betrackable with the precision and detail only possible today in the confinesof a lab. Every device, object or surface will potentially be a sensor. Thephysical constraints assumed by the current legal framework and thatbalanced the power of individuals against corporate and governmentinterest are disappearing. The digital representation of you that wasonce a rough tile mosaic is coming into focus for vendors andgovernment as a hi-def, crystal image.”“Our system of legal privacy protection is based on a world of atoms andembeds the implicit assumption that cost imposes a natural limit to theextent of surveillance. The move to bits breaks that foundationalassumption in ways that are not obvious and potentially catastrophic.” T. Rob The Odd is Silent blog
  8. 8. “Sometimes people seem to think that when I talk about the hemispheres this is ‘just’ metaphorical. But it is not. There is evidence that autistic spectrum disorders and anorexia nervosa, both of which mimic, and almost certainly involve, right hemisphere deficit states, are on the increase. But it goes much further than that. It affects us all. After a talk I gave recently in Toronto, a member of the audience came up to the microphone. What she said struck me forcibly. ‘I am a teacher of 7–11 year-olds’, she began. ‘My colleagues and I have noticed in the last three or four years that we have started having to teach children how to read the human face.’” “These teachers reported that in just the last few years their children had become unable to carry out tasks involvingsustained attention, tasks that ten years ago almost every child would have been able to do easily. When you put that together with research suggesting that children are now less empathic than they used to be, you get a startling picture. Because eachof these faculties – the ability to read faces, to sustain attention and to empathise – as well as being essential to the humanworld, is particularly reliant on the right hemisphere of the brain. So their relative demise is precisely what you would expect if my hypothesis is correct.” Iain McGilchrist Divided Brain, Divided World
  9. 9. 1.Narrative collapsethe loss of linear stories and their replacement with both crass realityprogramming and highly intelligent post-narrative shows like TheSimpsons. With no goals to justify journeys, we get the impatientimpulsiveness of the Tea Party, as well as the unbearably patientpresentism of the Occupy movement. The new path to sense-makingis more like an open game than a story. 2. Digiphrenia how technology lets us be in more than one place – and self - at the same time. Drone pilots suffer more burnout than real-world pilots, as they attempt to live in two worlds - home and battlefield - simultaneously. We all become overwhelmed until we learn to distinguish between data flows (like Twitter) that can only be dipped into, and data storage (like books and emails) that can be fully consumed.
  10. 10. 3. Overwindingtrying to squish huge timescales into much smaller ones, likeattempting to experience the catharsis of a well-crafted, five-act playin the random flash of a reality show; packing a year’s worth of retailsales expectations into a single Black Friday event – which only resultsin a fatal stampede; or – like the Real Housewives - freezing one’s agewith Botox only to lose the ability to make facial expressions in themoment. 4. Fractalnoia making sense of our world entirely in the present tense, by drawing connections between things – sometimes inappropriately. The conspiracy theories of the web, the use of Big Data to predict the direction of entire populations, and the frantic effort of government to function with no “grand narrative.” But also the emerging skill of “pattern recognition”.
  11. 11. 5. Apocalyptothe intolerance for presentism leads us to fantasize a grand finale. “Preppers”stock their underground shelters while the mainstream ponders a zombieapocalypse, all yearning for a simpler life devoid of pings, by any meansnecessary. Leading scientists – even outspoken atheists - prove they are notimmune to the same apocalyptic religiosity in their depictions of “thesingularity” and “emergence”, through which human evolution will surrenderto that of pure information.
  12. 12. 3. Choices
  13. 13. This Time Is Different
  14. 14. No wifiNo broadbandNo signal…guaranteed!
  15. 15. healing the divided brainre-connecting the generations eWealth creation (for everyone)
  16. 16. get in touch:gerard.oneill@amarach.com www.amarach.com