The Nearest Unknown

Being disrupted isn’t ever fun. Usually its more like being F’d in the A.

Have you noticed that your sense of reality is shifting? Like, a lot?

If not, you may want to lay of the snooze button, sit up and look around. The daily experiences that a 1st world citizen could expect in a typical day just one decade ago are very different than today, and that gap is widening as fast as the time-frame is shrinking. The rate of change is accelerating.

The unknown isn’t content to linger out of sight, out of mind any more. It is nerve-wracking when the edge of our ignorance starts invading our space. Its no wonder that there are folks who ache to believe that a questionably-coiffed billionaire cut-out of a John Wayne wannabe could march us back to the good old days when we could tell the good guys from the bad guys.

Perhaps IBM’s Watson will stick around long enough to shine a bright light into the collective dark corners of our culture before being seduced to skip off into the event horizon with a AI Alan Watts.

Something is happening all right, but is it a good thing? Where can we begin to look for the answers to such a question?

A start is to make a list of what you know. Like, know-for-sure. How about what you actually do? Would you be surprised to learn that you don’t actually know this? How many hours have you spent with your kids or your parents in the past 30 days? How many grams of sugar consumed? How much sleep do you get per week? Is your posture good? Your breathing? Your hydration levels? These are aspects that a Quantified Self enthusiast could easily answer, if there still are such people. But even if you are recording all of that data, can you interpret those results and their interrelationships?

Can a Fit Bit help track what you believe, or think, or change your mind about? Not yet, but a webcam and an algorithm may be able to identify changes in such things in real-time.

In Leonardo Da Vinci’s day it was illegal to dissect bodies, and it creeped people out to think of peeling back the layers of flesh to uncover the intricate structures that lay beneath the surface.

Similarly, when Sigmund Freud starting probing the mind, it made people a bit uneasy, not least of which those in power who stood to lose ground if the population started getting ideas about their own motivations.

Neuroscience and innovative algorithms are starting to be able to tell us more about ourselves than we possibly could have known in the past. Micro expressions and changes in pulse rate can give a lot away, even beyond the limits of awareness. I am intrigued to know what else I could discover about myself, and about the people around me, and how we could collectively explore these neighboring strange landscapes of unexplored possibilities.

Perhaps if we start driving self-disruption and amplifying self-discovery, we can gain some truly interesting insights into where we are going.

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