Friday, July 06, 2012

Three Revolutions

The first revolution was hunting / agricultural. The accent was on food production and most of the people lived on the farms or the large farming estates of the landowners. The surrounding towns and cities were centers of trade, where you could buy and sell. Transportation was by either horse, stagecoach or horse and wagon. The distance you could travel without preparing to go on a trip was the distance a horse could travel which was about 25 miles if you expected to be back home in 24 hours. The basic source of energy in the agricultural world was fire which was used for cooking, heating and the making of tools. Communication was by personal contact or delivered letter or newspaper by horseback, sailing vessel or through the post office. The next revolution was the industrial revolution. The connection of agricultural fire to the heating of water in an iron or steel vessel from which useful work could be performed or otherwise called the steam engine was the basis of the industrial revolution. The first steam engine was large and bulky and could only be used in industrial plants. As the steam engine became smaller wheels were added and the steam locomotive was born. Small steam engines were added to marine vessels which traveled faster than the old sailing vessels. People could now travel further and in greater comfort, so they went further. Other engines were developed that ran on different fuels so you got cars, trucks, and airplanes. Machinery was developed and built which lead to manufactured products. These products required sales to be made which meant customers had to be found in far off places. People moved to the towns and cities because the industrial centers offered steady work at a higher pay than could be earned on the farms. Initially there were no safety nets in the industrial world, but as soon as it was realized that industrial production required a stable workforce unions, medical plans and other industrial supports were developed. The industrial revolution required improved methods so you saw the development of telephones, radios, and electrical appliances. Most of us living now are still experiencing the industrial revolution which has largely matured. The final revolution is the software revolution. Software is the material from which we construct all the electronic tools, entertainment and artificial intelligence. In the days of the agricultural revolution it was plants including trees which we modified genetically to create new plants and trees for beauty and construction. If you're a gardener or work with wood you will know what I mean. The industrial revolution required that everything be concentrated in one location. This meant the concentration of people in cities around factories and transportation hubs such as railways, highways and airports. Plant genetics in the agricultural age was converted to metallurgy which is the modification of found and man made materials for construction and aesthetics in the industrial age. Machines, the assembly line and standardized production in the industrial age freed up time for personal pursuits compared to the agricultural age which required almost 100% of the time to be devoted to food production in order to survive. The earliest form of software was mathematics. Mathematics allowed you to calculate results before building. An example of this type of mathematics was in kitchen design where a bad measurement can cause you grief and ongoing frustration. The next development in mathematics was the invention of formulas and methods of manipulation. The manipulation of mathematical formulas lead to insight into nuclear energy and the design of the universe as seen through the work of Einstein. Another form of early software was language. Language is used for communication, ideas and emotions. Most people's software is in the form of language when compared to mathematics which is difficult to understand in depth unless your brain is wired in that direction. Software in the industrial age is also in the form of gears, levers, springs and motors which permit a machine to consistently and constantly perform a function. A watch is an example of this phenomena. Software has now evolved into a series of predominately linear instructions in a module or frame which is coupled to a standardized machine such as a computer which has outputs to devices such as printers or more esoteric devices.. An example of early software involving linear instructions is the common cooking recipe. Initially software was completely linear but now it has been developed into modules. Modules are like building bricks that can be arranged in any form, design or use for building and aesthetic construction. Software combined with wireless communication has allowed people to move away from concentrated environments such as cities and workplaces. Software has freed up even more time, which has lead to multitasking. Instant this and that have caused social and business changes. The global village has become all the earth and artificial demarcations such as nations, cities, cultures and controls are starting to melt away. If nations or businesses can't compete intellectually or economically, people can go elsewhere in the electronic environment. New social mores are being developed because sometimes we don't have the advantage of visual communication clues. Hence the development of emotion cons and capitals to emphasize emotion and moods. Since we don't have to be physically present, virtual reality with avatars are being used for virtual meetings to give formally absent visual clues so our lack of manners won't ruin careers. Biologically speaking, organisms over the eons have adapted themselves to changing environments in order to survive. Perhaps our brains will start to rewire for multitasking and the intellectual thinking challenges of the new software age. All I know is that we are on the edge of something exciting and thought provoking.  

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