9$ computer, Tech headaches & the Art of Not Giving a Fuck

A Love & Hate relationship.

This could totally sum up how I relate with technology. As a “tech” worker at large, and a citizen/consumer, I get a free double shot.

People all around the world embrace technology for the marvelous progress it can bring, from reducing painstaking activities, to enabling communication with our loved ones and accessing an endless amount of content.

Yet, at the same time, we recognize that technology can be addictive, alienating, time devouring, damaging to environment and social ties…

What happens when hundreds of millions of people share the same passion, conscious or not, for technology? What happens when business, small and large, start harnessing its power?
The change in society accelerates exponentially, both good and bad…

One problem I see is that most of us never really pause to reflect on what we want technology to really do for us, and for society at large.

Ethical questions surrounding technology usage are rarely debated publicly, or part of political programs, and pretty much a private preserve for tech minded folks, corporations and academia.

We live in an era where you get an operational, new computer for 9$ so, whilst this article is not a manifesto of any kind, I have gathered here a number of links about thought provoking tech news from my readings in the previous months…


Today’s geeks and nerds are now able to dream and produce an actual hoverboard,

Tony Hawk riding a hoverboard

or a Star Trek’s style food replicator.

Genie is the Nespresso for food, basically…

Imagine the above food machine connected to health sensors able to assess your nutritional needs in real time, and preparing the personalized meals you need… It seems to be this company’s long term goal and well, it is pretty much the “Mange-machine” used by some kind of advance alien as described by French author Rene Barjavel in his 1968 Sci-Fi effort “La Nuit des Temps” (“The Ice People” in English, an excellent read)

While we wait for these machines to reach the department stores, you might soon be able to store your products in a fridge made of jelly that uses no energy.

A jelly fridge? Take my money, now!

We will probably take care of ourselves through extremely personalized treatments enabled by our better understanding of the human body:
– Genome sequencing technology,
– Brain mapping,
– Research on our microbiomes,
– Big (health) data gathered from our own willing inputs as consumers of health wearables and connected medical equipment (like this thermometer+stethoscope),

Singularity is near, like technology oracle (and business man above all) Ray Kurzweil puts it. His premise is that when the sectors of health and energy will experience an electroshock similar as what the communication sector experienced with internet, we will witness our evolution into a new species of human…

Well, these popular T-shirts have a way of putting it, too…

At this juncture, and talking about evolution, I can’t resist but sharing an appropriate one of my favorite songs and music video.

Back to our technology-induced intoxicating high.

We will soon diagnose serious diseases like cancer faster than ever before (by taking a pill, or by blowing in an attachment to your phone). You can also expect to be cured in a less invasive way, via nano machines delivering drugs at very precise body location, or by using your own genetic material to grow your own spare body parts… New bone anyone?

The convergence of recent technology advance and new economic models such as crowdfunding is powerful, and an opportunity to leverage the imagination power of billions of humans to tackle our most pressing issues. I am ve
ry, very curious to see where this will take us and I believe we underestimate the impact that co-creation will have on our future.

Take for instance, the below Ocean Cleanup Project, dreamed by a smart young dutch guy, to whom crowdfunding platform gave great exposure, and an opportunity to develop his idea towards an actualization.

The above is the good side of things, but crowdfunding can also give birth to downright ridiculous and wasteful…
How about a wearable for tracking your pet’s health?
or funding the creation of a holder dedicated to carrying solely watermelons?

Of course, every one has its own views on what’s ridiculous and what’s not… There is no shortage of ideas that can make money. But just as correlation doesn’t equate causation, innovative doesn’t necessarily equal useful.

Luckily, I notice that many projects found on crowd platforms are geared towards “improving things”, but it might not help to curb down the stuffocation problem we face more and more in the so called “developed” world.

How many empowered innovators will come to actually regret their idea like the inventor of the coffee pod system behind the successful Nespresso?
Only time will tell.

Another video showing Microsoft’s productivity vision displays impressive ways we will work in the future. I was quite seduced by the maritime surveying technology.

But man, all these screens…
They look cool, and surely feel cool to use but… how are we going to source the rare earth elements and metal required in their production?
Currently, these come at 97% from China. And it’s not pretty.

A toxic wasteland, near Baogang rare earth exploitation site, in China

Well, guess what, there are entrepreneurs looking at this problem… The end game of US company Planetary Resources, lead by Silicon Valley guru and Singularity University co-founder Peter Diamandis is to go tap the infinite reserve of the universe for these rare earth components.
Practically, that means to mine asteroids to collect the precious raw materials of our trans human lifestyle and bring them back to earth. Bold, to say the least.

We will need a lot of those commodities if we are to build the gigantic machines and run the software that will print houses and buildings on earth.

We might be be able to offer emergency shelter to survivors of natural disasters at a rapid speed.
We will also be able to bring down the cost of construction, and cover the earth with more and more houses to lodge the fast rising global population…

If you want to see the above counter moving in real time, click here. It’s somewhat humbling.

Not only are we packing the planet with more and more humans (augmented humans or not), but we might not soon be the only cognitive species on Earth. Robots will soon be among us, and they might rise to power. This is NOT sci-fi. This is 2015.

I mean, robots are already making large profits on the stock markets. But what happens when artificial intelligence meets our millions of connected devices? Well, it interrogates us on our understanding of consciousness, and even prolific technologists and scientists are concerned about our current level of control.

This is all very dizzying. 

When we start to think of harnessing compulsive wankers to alleviate the energy crisis, one can seriously wonder if we aren’t already doomed.

So, what to do? 

Well, first, you should learn to give the right amount of fuck depending of the situation. And try to be happy.

Take the Swiss as your example. Switzerland tops this year’s World Happiness Report
And what’s one thing that defines Switzerland people? 
You guessed it: Switzerland does not give a fuck. 

Switzerland is a neutral country, sitting in the very center of Europe, yet, NOT PART OF IT.
And not giving a single fuck.

Growing up sometimes means giving less fucks, or giving fucks to what fucking matters. But growing takes time… Trees know that. So, the world should grow steadily, like a fucking tree.

And if you don’t want to grow like a tree, then use one to grow furniture sustainably

The world is full of ideas. Let’s just pick the right ones.
Let’s also try not not to waste our own energy, and our precious time on old debates, conventions, and etiquette rules that, although giving a sense of security, can also make everything surrounding us more blur. It will help save time, the one and only non renewable commodity for each and every one of us. Let’s pick the right fights, take heart felt risks, and give the rest the appropriate amount of fuck.

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