Preparing for the house of tomorrow

I’ve been thinking about technology of late and the world our boy will grow up in. Many of the things we can barely imagine already exist as working prototypes today. I’ve felt myself dismiss new technologies like Google Project Glass as quirky and unnecessary and wondering why people need anything other than a good old fashioned keyboard and I have to kick myself out of this aging process.

In 15 years time, things like those glasses won’t just have passed the prototype-early-adopters phase, they’ll be old news. They’ll look about as modern and exciting as a Nintendo 64 does today.

He will never know what it’s like to get a computer for the first time, or the Internet for the first time, and the one thing I can’t get out of my head is that he may never get to (or need to) drive a car.

Think about cars. Either resource scarcity and compounded global economic crises render cars un-affordable, or the human race manages to solve some of its current problems and another 17 years of technological development make self driving cars the norm. I doubt you’ll need to own a self driving car. Just imagine how cheap it will be to run an electric powered taxi service when you don’t have to pay a driver’s salary. It’s not the world as we know it, and it’s not a world in which anyone will be able to offer advice about living well. He will grow up among pioneers.

We can only do our best to prepare him for a world we will never fully understand.

I come back to this verse often in my day:

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

- The Prophet on Children

“For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams”

In our quest to live a simple live, we must not fail in preparing our son to live in a complex world. We must provide him with opportunity. He will choose the level of simplicity he wants for himself.

We can’t possibly hope to educate him in a system we won’t ever fully understand, but then my parents didn’t educate me in the Internet. They gave me the opportunity to work it out for myself. With plenty of worry and a reassuring amount of trust. They didn’t know I’d miss whole nights of sleep trying to get websites to render properly in Netscape Navigator then go to school and piss about in IT lessons that I thought were a waste of time. The education system wasn’t ready for a world with the Internet. And only the time I spent breaking the rules helped me to prepare for the world I live in.

While I can show him the value of carving a spoon with a knife and his own hands, I must also show him the value of printing your own spoon with a model you’ve made on a computer.

If someone had put it on YouTube I’d be linking to a song right now. But you’ll have to settle for the lyrics instead.

I can see we’re really close to something
It’s a feeling so near
But I got no time for the Luddites
Always lookin’ back down the track
Saying, “Can you spot one more detail, Jack.”

You gotta live in this world, go diggin’ the new
Live in this world – boy, tran or girl
Live in this world, oh, get diggin’ the new

Crashing head-on into the future
It won’t even leave a dent
Just walk in like you own it
Remember, it ain’t set in cement

- Track 7 here

It ain’t set in cement.

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