11 Mar 2016

11th March 2016 Into thin air.


Friday 11th, 34F, 1C, breezy, heavy overcast. The forecast is for some sunshine later this afternoon. During my walk it turned from overcast to bright grey with blue stripes. Little sign of bird or wildlife except for woodpeckers and a road kill Quail. I am still waiting for my first hare of the year. Though I did see and hear my first plover yesterday while out on my ride. It was 'bombing' a field with last year's harvested stalks still standing. So there doesn't seem like much chance of a nest surviving if the field is about to be ploughed.

I had an odd thought while I was bashing away at the keys updating my blog. Much of our daily lives is now expressed in electrons rather than ink and stone. So the people of the future may struggle to know us well, if at all. We must assume that human society survives in similar numbers to today's and still clings onto and still respects rapid technological progress. Will history students of the future mine the dying echos of our Interweb for details of our very strange existence? Or will religious anarchy bring society to its knees in abject slavery to blind ignorance?

It seems that much of our information storage is at risk of becoming useless. Floppy disks and paper tapes are now so out of date that only museums may have machines which can read them. These 'readers' are likely to be somewhere in their overflowing storage facilities and at constant risk of destruction. Our books, films, LPs, cassettes, CDs, DVDs and hard drives are unlikely to survive in great numbers. Not without major physical degradation or the reading technology lost to all but a few, interested specialists in antiques.

Does "The Cloud" really offer our only chance of being remembered? Does "The Cloud" actually contain an accurate picture of our daily lives?  Does it even matter that they will think we worship kittens? Are we living through The New Dark Ages? Or enjoying the last, glowing remnants of a dying, Golden Civilization before the descent into chaos, starvation and/or pandemic?

Should we be talking to a wider [future] audience every time we utter a tweet? Or when we consign a blog post, image or video to the Interweb? Should I feel the weight of responsibility to explain in pedantic detail why I take certain actions and make my choices? Will anyone be grateful or even care for my wordy prose and imagery? Science fiction novels have been written based on the sole survival of the words of a science fantasy writer amongst the decayed spoil heaps of some dystopic future. How divorced is this from any likely reality? Will crushing inequality end all our potential, rosy futures? Will all our weakly despotic leader's efforts to destroy justice, human rights and equality end in a bloody, global uprising against our present, utterly ridiculous and totally illogical behaviours? Such daft things as commuting at exactly the same times twice a day. And millions flying right around the world to crowd onto an identical beach to the one just down the road.

The Egyptians left us with their lasting monuments without also leaving us clear instructions for their replication and even why they did what they did. Much of it was probably distorted by religious beliefs and stiff social hierarchy. Does leaving us their artifacts and hieroglyphs truly represent a clear picture of their own, daily lives? Why did it take us millennia to finally begin to study and try to understand their seemingly odd activities? Rather than merely looting their exquisite treasures for personal greed. Will people laugh, or wonder in awestruck silence at images of cyclists in one hundred years? As our jerky and spotty images are magically projected from our last, few, remaining photon storage streams into thin air? And who, or what, will do the projection in 2116?

Remember that 100 years ago things like radio, TV, radar, flight, mass motor vehicle ownership, computers, hair driers, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, mains electricity, power tools, skateboards, space travel, GPS, lorries, microwaves, nuclear power, tanks and missiles were not even part of the human consciousness. Yet there is no shortage of pictures and films recording their arrival. Will the same be true of our own astonishing breakthroughs in 100 years from now?

Just another short ride for seven miles. I saw a small child riding a tadpole trike uphill while heavily laden with shopping. I heard her ask her mother if she could carry it all on her trike as they followed me though the checkouts. What a great idea to give a child a sense of purpose from such a young age. Better surely than sitting the sprogs in the back of the car, there and back, while they play games on a screen or exchange inane messages with other terminally bored kids?

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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