A New Wave

©Fernando Caracena 2017 Alvin Toffler saw the new wave in human development through the lenses of old concepts. Since his book "Third Wave" was published, there has been much wreckage of the old world structures and a tightening of centralized control. At the same time, the rapid advance in technology has been putting increasing power at the hands of the individual. Central governments fear the mounting power that they see in the hands of individuals.  They have mistrusted the individual for a long time, but never worried about them because they were so limited. Individuals could not be a threat to the power of the state unless they became organized and polarized. However in the past, poor communication among individuals and their physical separation diffused them as a potential threat to the more organized state. In 1980, the futurist Alvin Toffler saw the coming changes associated with the advent of the personal computer in his book on "The Third Wave". To a lot of people, Toffler's predictions seemed plausible, but what he saw, was probably not in the range of most of the enlightened citizenry. The Apple II computer had emerged as a popular computer in 1977. Although Queen Elizabeth sent out an e-mail in 1976, e-mails were then rather esoteric and the ability to to send one was limited to very limited, high-tech circles.Two years after Toffler's book, the TCP/IP standard was developed, which was the essential link that allowed for the Internet as it exists today. The time when the Internet was being developed behind the scenes by people in DARPA, the rest of us, unaware of the approaching wave of easy communication, were having a lot of fun playing around with personal computers. For a lot of us, those were the days of fun computing. Personal computers appealed to the hobbyists.  It was during that time when people with money and had access to more information than what was available to the general public could begin to see the promise of a lot of money to be made in the high-tech industry. The strong business potential of computers then begin to turn the industry toward business applications. The hobbyists were abandoned.  I wrote the following in a previous post on "The Age of Fun Computing":

"In retrospect I see what has happened. The machines that gave access to the users of all the hardware capabilities were phased out in favor of business machines that gave users limited access to machine capabilities. It is as if behind the scenes computer manufacturers decided to phase out the hobbyist who wanted to play in the marvelous, new digital world. Now as I look at my great number crunching machine, I realize that I cannot do the same, simple-but-powerful audio video programming that I could do on the TI 99/4A. If for example, I am writing a blog on sound, it would be nice to  generate the various sounds involved, such as middle C at 440 Hz."

The race of big business to get in on profits in the computer industry converged with the interests of governments to gain the high ground over its citizens in a high-tech development that would give individuals too much power. The result was the high-tech bubble and the rapid growth of government surveillance, which currently knows no bounds.

Perhaps the New Wave is a tectonic shift in the human spirit that is sweeping away all the old stale forms that worked to herd humans on a mass scale. The human race is shedding its old skin so that it can grow into a new form.

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