Tuesday, April 20, 2010

in search of a revolution

This afternoon, I met with a few of the readers of "the book". It was a good experience. Getting there was another story - let's just say that because of many mistakes I made on the way, I was super late (guess I needed a good dose of humility as well).

One comment that really stuck out for me was from a woman who said I was born 35 years too early and she was born 40 years too late. She said that I was clearly in search of a revolution, but all the good ones, which she had been a part of, had already happened. She, on the other hand, had to go through those revolutions because she couldn't live out her dream to be a fighter pilot.

This morning, I was prepping for the 3D programming class I'm teaching (which is why I lost track of time and nearly missed the aforementioned meeting) and was struck by how fast technology is evolving. Not only in my lifetime, but even more so in the lifetime of my students. However, this level of change is second nature to them. So how can I put it into perspective for them? I needed to find a story and as often is the case with technological advancements, it was a science fiction writer who saw the vision of 3D programming in virtual worlds. In 1992, Neal Stephenson wrote about virtual reality in Snow Crash.
"So Hiro's not actually here at all. He's in a computer-generated universe that his computer is drawing onto his goggles and pumping into his earphones. In the lingo, this imaginary place is known as the Metaverse. Hiro spends a lot of time in the Metaverse. It beats the shit out of the U-Stor-It." - pg. 24
The first world-wide browser wasn't on the scene until 1993. It was the very next decade that brought the virtual reality games of Runescape (2001), SecondLife (2003) and World of Warcraft (2004) to life. The massive change in technology in such a short period of time really reflects the definition of a revolution.
revolution - a sudden, complete or marked change in something (dictionary.com)
I'm beginning to suspect that much of my fascination and time spent on technology is in search of that next big revolution. That thing that is going to "beat the shit" out of the real world problems of poverty, discrimination and greed. You may think I'm crazy, but I'm not alone.
"Reality is broken and we need to make it more like a game." - Jane McGonigal

No comments: