“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
FAIRHOPE, Ala. — The world is changing fast, again. Try to keep up — if you can.
Let us help. Let me help. Listen up.
About the time NBC was wrapping up it’s prime time coverage of the Olympics in Rio Saturday night, pretty sad and pathetic coverage by the network now owned by the telecom giant Comcast I must say, I snuck over to the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay for a meeting with some very smart young people. No doubt similar meetings were going on in California’s Silicon Valley, in cities across Europe and Asia, even in Brazil.
While the old school politicians in Montgomery were just trying to work out a deal to be one of the last states in the country to approve a lottery to shore up the budget and save the poor, sick people who are dying because of their stubborn resistance to funding Medicaid, we were talking about the next wave in technology to change the world for the better in ways these hacks will never get.
Our discussions took me back in my mind to the period from 1993-2000, when the Internet, search engines and Web browsers were new. It was such an exciting time. All of us who were involved in trying to figure out how to develop tools to use with this new technology to make the world a better place had so many hopes and dreams about the future. About an even better democracy, health care and the new economy.
But as often happens with dramatic changes in our technological capabilities, the limitations that put the brakes on how fast we can make those positive changes happen ends up slowing us down.
As the old saying goes: “One step forward, two steps back.”
Just as we heralded in the new millennium, the future looked so bright. The world was opening up like an oyster to be devoured with zesty lemon and tasty beer.
Then along came George W. Bush, hanging chads in Florida, a conservative Supreme Court willing to let politics affect its decisions, and the oyster closed back down on itself.
We stepped back in time and had to live through the attacks of 9/11 by people who want to return us to the Middle Ages. We watched in horror as New Orleans flooded in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, and the politicians in Washington and the Southern states acted like they had not been warned about more violent storms from climate change due to the burning of fossil fuels. They are still in denial as Baton Rouge floods and California burns and there’s almost no water left to drink out west.
President Obama came along in 2008 and gave us hope, but the Republicans in Congress just kept kowtowing to the segment of the U.S. population hell bent on fighting change. They don’t even realize they are in a political coalition with the people they hate the most: The so-called “radical Islamic terrorists” the Trump campaign claims we can “defeat” if only we elect him president.
These radical Muslims – not all Arabs – are fighting technology and economic change. They want us all to live in a tent in the desert rather than modern cities, a place where women are covered from head to toe, only to be seen by the Mullah in charge when he gets horny. Let’s tell it like it is. The so-called “tea party” Republicans want us all to live in old Southern rural mansions where dark skinned slaves do all the work and only they get to drink the mint juleps and watch Gladiators on HD TV.
They don’t want a revolution. They want to take us back to a time before The Revolution.
If only we could get them to realize that if they would just let us embrace change, and stop fighting it so hard, we could carve out a better world for everybody. There does not have to be so much sickness and suffering and hunger in the world. We know how to fix that. If the politicians and the old school capitalists who benefit from keeping the pace of change slow would just get out of the freaking way.
Now we’ve also come along way since I wrote the definitive piece on the Accelerating, Exponential Rate of Change in Society in 2011.
One of the big ideas I had in the late 1990s for the ability to live broadcast music shows is finally about to happen in a big way. In 1999, we were in talks with Ashley Capps to wire the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville and produce “the Grand Ole Opry of the Internet Age.” It didn’t happen for several reasons, not least among them the slow speed of the Internet then. The tools we had to use were primitive, the Netscape web browser and the Real Player video window. Not enough people were acclimated yet to reading and viewing content online.
But the tools and the audience are almost in place. We are about to turn the corner. All of those things we dreamed about in the early days of the Internet are about to come true.
I’m not quite ready to reveal all the details. But if you will just stay tuned and keep helping us build this alternative platform, we can continue playing a critical role in forging this new and better world. If you watch us closely, you will see this transformation right before your very eyes. I kid you not. You are about to be amazed.
© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.