Monday, October 17, 2005

How the Future Is Done

From Boing Boing, A Time magazine article/group interview featuring Tim O'Reilly, Malcolm Gladwell, Clay Shirky, Mark Dery, Esther Dyson, David Brooks, and Moby. (The article doesn't say how they put this together -- were all these people in one room, or were they webcasting, or did they put this together from a bunch of little interviews, or what?)

There's some thoughtful stuff here, amidst some phrase-parroting ("wisdom of crowds," "social capital," "return of the real," "the long tail") and the most unfortunately tone-deaf use of the phrase "biting their pillows" I've ever seen. The big idea for me -- especially since I just wrote an e-mail missive to Leonard Ford's new listserv (bug him about it and get yourself added on to it) about how a decrease in transportation costs could change the country -- is Malcolm Gladwell's argument that decreased transportation costs have changed the country:

One of the most striking things in observing the evolution of American society is the rise of travel. If I had to name a single thing that has transformed our life, I would say the rise of JetBlue and Southwest Airlines. They have allowed us all to construct new geographical identities for ourselves. Many working people today travel who never could have in the past, for meetings and conferences and all kinds of things, and this is creating another identity for them.
There's plenty of other goodies here too -- a few too many to take on all at once. I'd love to hear what struck other people, or what they might find to argue about. (Also see the discussion of intelligent design, multiple identities, and the curious presence of Moby at Snarkmarket.)


Gavin said...

So that's why I'm not getting any e-mail from you--it's all going to Len's listserve. All right, I'll sign up, but, again, nobody ever tell me anything.

Gavin said...

Good for Moby, too, keeping it all in perspective.

Who knows if the future is bleak or bright? "But I like waking up every day, and I think breakfast is a fantastic thing."

Anonymous said...

So THIS is why my listserv is being deluged with join requests! Huge amounts of traffic is being shunted there by short shrift!

-- Len

Anonymous said...

I would like to dwell on your observation about travel. I do agree that there has been a lot of interest form Americans with regards to travel. Statistics show that Americans travel more than any other nationalities. Perhaps it only proves the reputation of Americans as conquerors.