Friday, January 24, 2014

Who Turned Up the Heat?

Overheating (Hyperthermia) is an elevated body temperature due to failed thermoregulation that occurs when a body produces or absorbs more heat than it dissipates. In economics, overheating occurs when an economy's productive capacity is unable to keep pace with growing aggregate demand (the whole enchilada). 

Given our present technological trajectory toward the mergence of the vast knowledge stored in our brains (and bodies) with man-made devices that have a vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability, we can presume that the issue of overheating will arise. 

Overheating was my son's primary concern today when we discussed what would happen if our species took an evolutionary leap forward? and became a human-machine civilization. 

"Mom, we'll need to find a way to cool ourselves down just like we do with our computers. When our computers put out more heat than what their components, like the processor, can handle, they shut down."

Figuratively speaking, my son has been hardwired to the computer since he was 8 months old and transferred a Scooby Doo icon from a video game onto his desktop background. He "beat" all his sister's games by 3 years old and by 9 years of age he was already teaching himself HTML code and "beating" high school students in online gaming. He now manages servers, edits his own films, creates virtual worlds in sandbox indie games, and is teaching himself 3D animation. His dexterity with a computer is uncanny; it's as if the computer's essence is the same essence pulsing through his veins. As a result, the rate in which he processes computer-oriented (and general) information is growing astronomically, as if he were a direct descendent of Moore. 

Without going into more specific detail on his processing prowess, let's just say that my son lives and breathes computers. So, it's natural that when we spoke about how in the future we would merge the biological body with technological components he naturally thought of the issue of overheating. 

His suggestion places him in a special category beyond his exponentially growing intelligence. His thinking places him in the Age of Transition. The only thing in life he's seen as a constant is the evolution of technology. For him it's not a theory, it's an immutable fact. 

Historically, evolution took a really, really, really long time to happen, so it basically went unseen. However, for kids born in the late 90s and early 2000s (and forward), technological evolution is a constant they've experienced since infancy. 

Whether they remember big desktops, Disney on VHS, the first generation DS, the introduction of the PSP, the release of the iPod, Wii Sports, Call of Duty on XBox 360, the bulky iPad, the controversial iPad mini... they have experienced first-hand how fast technology advances, how quickly updates become available, how much more power is held in the next generation release. 

Compared to the billions of years it took humans to evolve, computers have made the same equivalent evolutionary leap in only 14 years. Imagine exponentially what the next 14 years might bring...

How do you convince children of his generation that there's value in studying and rote memorization exercises when he knows that within a few short years he'll more than likely be able to download any piece of information he wants into his brain. And that at some point, all of society will be wireless, receiving constant updates as society advances toward global enlightenment...

Welcome to the table discussions in our home. Epistemological discussions on the nature of being, watching movies like InceptionLimitless, Minority Report, etc. and forever since discussing the concepts of free will and determination... and then, Fun Fridays, where we purposely reject the constructs of Western Society and go instead to a museum or a mastercrafter's studio to experience the beauty of art or creation before spending the rest of the day reading, relaxing, sight seeing, enjoying films, discussing the nature of human ingenuity, engaging in interesting discussions with family or friends, or creating our own artwork ~ because just we are inspired to do so.  

Overheating, as we concluded this afternoon during our discussions at lunch, might just be a challenge we will someday have to overcome in the experience known as human-machine life. 

What I want to know is where are we going to put the fan! ;))


Anonymous said...

An enjoying read with a lovely insight to what must be some beautiful family time. I wanted to respond again with a poem but not from a personal view as such and only utilizing a small excerpt from your post (anything other than that could taint what was undoubtedly a lovely moment in time). More from a slightly neophobic perspective to test what I have previously conversed about with others and how they look at a world where hard-wiring is an inevitable future. I believe the cooling system will come from an external suit which will also be as resplendent as your superhero outfit ;)

Hardwired worlds of nondescript scripts
Technology tainting my mother’s milk
Tree of knowledge with roots squared
Heartbeating flatline while Logan runs

The learning curve of insanity
Governed autonomous learning
Uploading forbidden skillsets
In exchange for virtual coin

Let me eat cake with the birds
Lost in the Wisteria Flower Tunnel
With my lady of equal beauty
Carry me into a fear or two

Breaths replaced with the surrogate us
Surface mounted motor functions
Technology atrophying the hard drive
That encrypts the feel of the touch


Soph Laugh said...

Lovely poem, Mark.

Sharp and keen with insight into the numerous aspects of humanity that may undoubtedly persist throughout our many changes of form, even if our circuitry is eventually more machine than man.

Thank you for your kind, clever, and ever so funny words of insight.