Wednesday, 16 December 2009

When The Universe catches up

rt is a very personal thing. It can evoke emotions from disinterest and apathy to exhilaration or fury. Surrealist art, in particular, provokes these traits. When I was investigating sources of art for my blog I discovered Surrealist art by richard dotson as he has a piece called soliloquy. One of his other pieces, titled "When The Universe catches up" puts me in mind of the primordial soup coagulating into proto-stars at the dawn of our universe. Hence it seems like a perfect image to run alongside this next blog. In my earlier research I started reading http://www.kurzweilai.net/

There was an essay on the Law of Accelerating Returns, it is a pretty weighty read, so don't start it unless you have a glass of wine and a good 30-60 minutes. It postulates that technological advancement is just an extension of evolution. To that end, Moore's Law is one tiny fragment of the supporting evidence for this theory. The paper presents mathematical evidence that evolution and now technological advancement is exponential in nature. In fact technology is purely an extension of (or natural successor to) evolution. Previously we have only perceived the linear advance since the briefness of human life, when looked at on an exponential graph, only provided us this perspective but now as evolution is accelerating, during a single human existence we can now perceive this exponential effect. "When I were a lad", will become "When I were ... er... 1 year younger" to "Yesterday everything was so much simpler".

The argument to support this is that, as an advancement becomes "active" it interacts positively with contemporaneous developments and produces a symbiotic effect that accelerates further advancements. The natural conclusion of this acceleration is that on an exponential graph we shift from "horizontal", through "curvy" to "vertical". That is, we were horizontal, we are now curvy and soon we will become vertical. "are you still with me? wait until you read the paper!".


We're now at the exciting bit, technology and biotechnology will meld together and accelerate the evolution of mankind and within a short period of time we will evolve into another species - that's the vertical bit - we hit what they refer to as a "Singularity".

Its fascinating stuff, it doesn't appear to be a cult, it does appear on the face of it to be Science and Philosophy on the cutting edge. There are some incredible predictions, for example the first person to live for 1000 years is probably already alive. For me though, I've missed the boat, as it suggests they are probably under 30 today.  Before you completely write this off as Jim's nonsense, consider what an Anglo Saxon would have said if you had described the space shuttle to them.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas Cheer


Too many Christmas lunches, too many seasonal extra events.  Why do we pack 95% of our social calendar in to 31 days in December?  I have now had 4 Christmas lunches and for those that follow me on Twitter you would have seen the delights of the photo of me adorned by a festive bonnet of some sort!  I am wrestling with my desire to relax and enjoy the seasons festivities and my overwhelming grief at humanity's tragic collapse into blatant commercialism and excess.   

So if I can avoid the gluttony, I am really looking forward to some quiet time with family and friends and hopefully spending a little bit of time with my blog!  Must dash, I have a carol concert to go to, I hope there are mince pies and mulled wine.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Work life balance


Ironically I've been struggling to write this work-life-balance blog all week, as I have been too busy.

This week work has taken me away from my wife, the kids, my home, my games, flash-forward, and blogging.  I'm sure there is more it's just my mind is so overloaded I cannot remember.

When did we stop being a profession and start having a profession?  Where our life was in balance, as we were what we did - that is you were a farmer, doctor, soldier.  You didn't leave your life and go and do these things, then when finished return to your life.  This was probably the time we started actually having leisure time - so I shouldn't complain, the fact that I had leisure time to loose is a bonus.  Somehow this doesn't quite feel right, perhaps we need a three-day weekend!

I once went to a meeting in London where, Sahar Hashemi, the founder of Coffee Republic was a guest speaker.  Her talk (and the book that she was selling in the lobby afterwards) were discussing the nature of entrepreneurs.  One comment that registered strongly with my perspective at that time was that entrepreneurs didn't "clock-off" at 5:30. If an idea came to you at 6am on Sunday, you worked on it.  Your passion for what you did meant that it pervaded your entire existence there was no boundary.  But don't we need a boundary?  The photo in this blog is me in 2003 on holiday in Ireland, the document in my hand I believe was the monthly management accounts and I was on the phone to Linda in accounts.  I was stood on the fence (not metaphorically this time) as the cottage was in a hollow with no phone reception.  Eventually I had to give up and have 2 weeks off.  It was great and I felt refreshed when I returned.  Lesson learned I think.

Recently with my foray into the virtual, social and professional networking arena with facebook/twitter/LinkedIn I am having the same issue of work/life balance.  Should I have a Chinese Wall between them, should I allow work to drift in to personal?  Should I leverage my contacts? or should I remain in this schizophrenic state of having two separate personalities?  Clearly, I haven't decided yet.  I think I'll just see what unfolds.

Also, I don't think it is wise to "collect" friends and contacts like some sort of trophy.  There seems to be a practice of adding everybody you've ever met, or in some cases just worked at the same place, to your collection of links/friends/followers.  I'm sure this practice will be self defeating as it undermines the  strength of your relationship with your real links/friends/followers.  I don't advocate a set of selection criteria for adding to your list, just use common sense - ask yourself, do I know this person?

Oh no, I've run out of time, must get back to work........


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