Friday, February 3, 2012

16550--Falling Toward Nerdvana

I have a smartphone.  Yeah, I know, so do millions of other people.  So what's the big deal?

Yes, they've become commonplace and we're quickly being jaded to their presence, but they're still a fairly new addition to our lives.  For me, they're overdue.

As a kid, I watched a lot of Star Trek (the original series).  It was in syndication and there wasn't a lot of sci-fi competition on TV, so the show's status grew and became very influential.  Still, not news, but my letters to Santa included requests for phasers and communicators.  OK, maybe the phasers would've been irresponsible to hand to a ten-year-old, but did the big man come through on the communicators or what?

I predicted Bluetooth back then.  Dick Tracy and his kind may have shown us the wrist radio (optional video) first, but I figured out that the better way to handle it was going to be having that easily accessible control unit and a wireless microphone/speaker in the ear.  That system is now finally available, too.  (anyone caring to send royalty payments may contact me through this sight for Paypal info)

Things change.  I tried to explain to my teenager about personal computers that used to have 64K RAM, becoming organizers and watches, with more computing power than NASA used to get to the moon.  His eyes glazed over.  Oh, well.

Still, it's the smartphone that's achieving awesomeness.  In Star Trek terms, they're becoming communicator/tricorder hybrids.  In conventional terms, we have "large" cell phones/small tablet/mini-computers to carry around and help us through our days.  The PDA of fifteen years ago might as well have been a Dayrunner by comparison.  No, they're not perfect yet.  We still have dropped calls and signal coverage issues and I don't think the Klingons are behind it.  Kirk could carry on calls from half a mile underground with the orbiting Enterprise.  I guess I could say we'd been misled about our mobile communication future, but we haven't quite made it to the 23rd century yet.

I'm eager to see what's next.

Small laser-based scanning units have been developed to analyze the molecular structures of objects at a distance.  To me, sounds like all we've been missing to make a tricorder.

Cybernetic micro-electronic components are being created with increasing frequency to be incorporated into living nervous systems.  Cybernetic remote control and telepathy shouldn't be too far off.  Neither should medical monitoring and modification be something we're waiting long to see as it seems that new uses for nanotechnology are being experimented with every week.

A friend and I are waiting to see the Playstation 9 offered as a package of nanites that will be inhaled and integrate themselves into the user's biology, allowing for virtual reality and augmented reality functions, communication and play.  We'll have forced our own synthetic evolution to handle our smartphone functions, and anything else we use computers for, directly through our brains.  That big cyber data cloud floating in the internet ether will become part of the collective consciousness.  Of course, there may be a certain percentage of seizures and/or hemorrhages and other neurological side effects, but perfection is a path.  The road to Singularity (human fusion with technology) is likely to be as bumpy as any of our significant advancements have ever been.

Let's face it, we still lose control of fire on a daily basis and look at how long we've been playing with that.  Anything we cook up is likely to have hazards to go along with any benefits.  We should certainly be used to it by now.  We don't live in a padded world.  Fortunately, we learn from pain and failure.  That means, however things work out with our next bold steps, we should manage some measure of progress as long as there are survivors to figure out the next step.


  1. I want to wish your Mother a very Happy Birthday. I was talking to my brother today about mean people and people who treat others badly. Your Mother sounds like such an amazing woman and she is lucky to have a daughter who realizes this. It makes my heart hurt that she was snubbed that way when she has done so much good for this world of ours. Give her a BIG HUG for me Phoenix and tell her I think she is wonderful and God Bless Her :) and while you are at it HUG yourself for being a Wonderful Daughter. :)

    1. Thanks...I guess. The sentiment is appreciated, anyway. Two problems, though: 1) I think you were trying to respond to the Maya Angelou post and 2) my mother claims to have never been desirous of daughters, so was fortunate to have only had sons.

      Well, no harm done. :D

    2. In the voice of Nelson, "HA ha!"

      -Her other son

  2. This post is great! We talk about Star Trek and current technology at work all the time. I'm also relieved that I'm not the only one to be a little late to board the SmartPhone train. I have to wait until June for a upgrade! Can't wait.

    1. We're not late boarding. The train just isn't going where we want fast enough yet, but it is getting better. Whether we know it or not, we want technology that will help us do everything we already do, plus anything else we come up with on the fly, all with minimal effort. In short, an unpaid personal assistant. Are we talking robot butler? Hmmmm...

  3. I remember when I got my first cellphone I made sure to pick one that flipped open like a classic Star Trek communicator. Automatic sliding doors, hard disks(not that wimpy floppy stuff), and flat panel TVs are some other technological developments I associate with the series. However, this new age of smartphones, tablets, and kindles with internet access reminds me more of the book from Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.