Happy Friday everyone!
Two other things:
1. Today I had my penultimate radiation treatment. After Monday’s, I’m done. Dropping off handwritten thank you notes to the ICU and recovery nurses at MGH felt good.
2. I’m becoming something of an amateur philosopher. What follows is unrelated to my medical status but I wanted to get it out as I sit here typing on my iphone, so here you have it:
Change is happening faster than most people seem to grasp. Things impossible a couple years ago are possible; things once hard are easy; things once easy are now automatic or unnecessary.
Consider that Harvard economists published scholarly articles on AI in 2004, citing autonomous cars as their prime example of where AI and robot capabilities would meet their absolute limit. Fast-forward less than a decade. Google has put hundreds of thousands of real-world road miles on driverless cars, which will surely hit the mainstream auto-buying marketplace in the next handful of years. This is something HARVARD UNIVERSITY PHD EXPERTS PROFESSIONALLY DEDICATED TO THE SUBJECT said was IMPOSSIBLE, less than 9 years ago. Think about it.
Ditto for using DNA as a storage mechanism to replace magnetic hard drives. The information density is incredible. (Think all of wikipedia in your fingernail.) I enjoyed a great sci-fi book called “The Dervish House” just a few months ago which put forward this seemingly crazy or distant-future idea. Now it’s being put into practice.
I won’t even bother getting into quantum computing.
My point is, we can’t keep pace with the accelerating rate of change. I suspect the human characteristic that will soon prove most important and useful will be adaptibility and openness to change. Because we can’t even *imagine* things that are going to be possible and real just months or a few years from now.
FWIW I am not at all sure this is necessarily a good thing. Good or bad is very difficult to judge (cf The Farmer’s Luck). But it is real, and it is happening now. In any case it is a huge opportunity.
Reading science fiction is quickly approaching the equivalent of reading decades-old newspapers. By the time a novel goes to print, its ideas have been implemented. I prefer to read great positive humanistic sci-fi (like the Culture novel series by Iain M Banks, e.g. “The Player of Games” — thanks again, Gil! ). Learning to imagine a happy future may become very important in our collective ability to bring one into being.
To this end, I hope people can learn to let go of their rigid ideologies (of *any* kind), to let go of dogma, and to be accepting of whatever is to come. And to be positive and creative in efforts to use the amazing powers we have for good works and loving kindness.
I also hope and expect that this incredibly interesting phase of human existence will lead to amazing opportunities to come to a better and fuller understanding and appreciation of what it means to be alive and awake and conscious in this mysterious and awesome Universe — which we are in and which is in us! It’s suffused with limitless wonder and delight and beauty and mystery and love. I wish everyone could see this the way I do right now.
Of course the future is unknowable. There is certainly a lot of chance involved. But the more we all love each other and practice acceptance and letting things go, the better the chances it will be a future we’d all want to live in and pass on to our children. I am actively working on figuring out tangible ways I can contribute to that happy future. I’ll share more about these ideas when I’m able. Till then, be well! 🙂