Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Its 2082 and I am now more than 100 years on this planet. When I was young, I never thought I would reach that age. But here I am.

Back then, nearer to the beginning of the century, we were expecting the glorious revolution of information as the internet more and more grew into our primary means of communication. So little did we know about what was yet to come.

With time, commonly used new technologies move from being an innovation to being commonplace. They move from being extraordinary and world-changing but also experimental and unreliable to being a piece of infrastructure you rely on. You just expect it to work.

Think about historically significant innovations like electricity, water supply, the first wired telephones or networked computers. Who does still know how a light switch works, how water is cleaned, telephone networks are build or computer are programmed? Yes, there are a view who still know, but most of us, we just don't care. And thats good, its how technological and scientific innovation works. We build on the knowledge of past generation and use the abstractions they have build to be able do even greater things.

In this sense there are some things that are worth forgetting. Obsolete technologies, that are replaced by more viable and complete solutions.

But on the other hand, there is a lot that we might loose if we forget. Insights from past times, that made their way into successful innovations, but with their importance forgotten by current innovators.

I still know the ancient methods, symbols and tools of programming to the actual hardware of a computer. Its not done too much these days with technologies like Speakogramm and Modelling techniques in place that were build on top of these old technologies. Luckily there is quite the hobbyist community out there, mostly old dogs like me. Most of the activities is still on some old chat servers, imagine that: Typing characters into a little text window. To many young people it just seems ridiculous.

I want this knowledge to stick around for some longer. Sure these new technologies are more effective, I don't question that. Its just that if we for some reason have to go "back to the drawing board" and re-invent or re-think some more basic concepts, I want the knowledge to still in place, in the heads of at least some of the current thought leaders.

That is why I have worked for the past 25 years since my retirement with a local university to build an elective course that teaches the history of computing. The real and good stuff of building your wh*** computing system from the ground.

I am very happy to have helped passing on that knowledge. I don't know if I am gonna be around for that long. The last check-up of my artificial heart was fine, but 100 years still is a quite respectable age.

Views: 25

Comment by Jeremy Laird Hogg on April 30, 2010 at 9:08pm
Comment by Ssozi Javie on April 30, 2010 at 9:36pm
Awesome, I like the way you put your story and match it with the facts. I really appreciate technology - and sometimes I think its such a shame that we get all the technologies but not the skills!
Maybe we could work on a project together - Its basically aimed at designing/ installing data repositories for the youth and communities to access information more easily. Its some thing I would really love to do. But could use some ideas here and there. :)

I Posted this Article : LEARN 1: Provide skills NOT just finished technologies.
Comment by Christian Brumm on April 30, 2010 at 9:44pm
Thanks for the feedback!

@Ssoze: Sounds great, I will have a look!


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