Am bending this one a good bit. But, I need to. There’s much more to the mobile, web, blah-blah-blah, that I’ve been writing/speaking/designing about the last decade plus. I’m aiming towards enabling a life for the next generation that will be a profitable step forward, not merely a figurative one. To that end, I’ve had some beautiful challenges to what’s core to me, and what I’ll adjust to in light of that. Ah… got to love this adventure. Right?
One of the articles currently sitting within the stream of open tabs on my iPad is this look towards life in 2031. Now, I’m taking all kinds of liberty towards it by constraining it towards the educational frame. Its bugging me that I’ve not done things like this sooner though. We’ve not paid enough attention to the decisions we’ve made today and in decades past towards this tech to have a better vision (in some respects).
Suburbs are the new favelas, while the prosperous live cheek-by-jowl in repurposed downtowns. Architecture guts entire city blocks, preserving the historicized skins around flats packed to Hong Kong densities. Cars are rental-shared. Furniture is mobile. Most objects have IDs.
Click by click and tap by tap, apps replace materiality. One’s place on the planet’s surface is a latitude–longitude position, ever more arbitrary. Material possessions most prized in 1991 – sports trucks, monster fridges, granite counter tops – are as ungainly as horsehair sofas.
This deceptive material simplicity means wrangling endlessly with unstable interfaces – ‘experience design’. When a tracking system falls apart, you ditch everything you own and start over again. The poor are subjected to horrid acts of immaterial wickedness – treadmills of upgrading and discontinuation. The rich cling to the gloomy luxuries of a vanished epoch – fillet steaks, wild-caught fish, unscanned oil paintings, marble and bronze … aristocratic, heavy, dim-witted.
As the Baby Boomers dwindle, there’s never been such a torrent of funerals. The public Boomer funeral is the new rock and roll. Rock has been the planet’s soundtrack for over seven decades now, stylized, derivative, a massive accumulation of tone-snippets, style and imagery, to be retro-futuristically repurposed in the service of necrotic dignity. In a world of fully digitized heritage, the cobwebbed past is spidered into submission, gently composting on the hard-disk.
Its only a pessemistic possibility, but its the future that’s coming in some sort whether we like it or not. My Sunday afternoons are spent litterally coming at education from this perspective when Dr. Steve Perry asks his question of the week (seriously, if you aren’t looking in on this dicussion, you are missing one of the best usages for Twitter to provoke discussion). And I’m left usually one part impressed and another part reeling. How can we pursue a question of whether education today is effective if we aren’t asking the also pertenant questions of what did it look like in an shift-year like 1991, and what should it look like 40 years (a generation and a half) later – 2031?
I banter on about education here because we see something missing when we look at the focus given to mobile device/service experiences. Seriously, there’s a correlaton. When the goals for education aren’t passing a test, making it efficient at any cost, or marginalize that competitor’s unique feature, we can have the prospective talk about “what unique ability or refinement can we bring to the table to level-up anyone who buys into this experience?” That’s not asked in mobile nearly enough, and the core happens way back when we talk about schooling and the goals there. If we ask (as teachers and parents) that question, and then as students are given the tools or boundaries to explore, succeed, fail, and invent towards that answer – then we can truly say that the goals for education can be stated in “preparing for the future,” or “alleveating access to a better lifestyle.”
But really. Look at your mobile. Is that something you use and are so happy about because someone was so focused in their approach to that technology that they wanted you to level up? Or, were you more interested in being the own trailblazer to your future, needing to rip apart and reinvent so that the experience of mobile is passable (we call this rooting on the Android side)?
This is the goal of why I’m provoked about education, and have pursued it thru mobile and other efforts. My God-daughter, God-son, and soon to oome niece will level-up me and then some. But, not because they’ll be like me and rebell against the decisions that I’ve made. It will be because they will have been given every tool and resource at my disposal to create their future, while understanding the implications of my choices and their’s.
What goals are you teaching towards? It’s time to change.