The WELL is conducting its annual Bruce Sterling "State of the World" public interview, in which Chairman Bruce holds forth on any subject the audience raises. Jon Lebkowski asked me for a question to kick it off, so I asked Bruce what I should do to be sure that I've provided for my daughter Poesy's future. His answer is very funny and provocative, though a simple "I don't know either" would have sufficed:
*Okay, you've treated your future as an "unpredictable lurching
thing..." and now you're all morose about that... You and your
generation CREATED that situation! Ever heard of "disruptive
innovation," "disintermediation," "offshoring," "small pieces loosely
joined," "de-monetization," "plug and play," "the network as a
platform"? Of course you've heard of all that crap, because you've
been tub-thumping it your entire adult life, but what the hell did you
think that was all about? Did you think you were gonna bend every
effort to virtualize reality, and then get a gold railway-retirement
watch and a safe place to park the cradle? Guys with stacks of gold
bars and working oil wells don't have any stability now! Much less
guys like you, who move their fingers up and down on keyboards for a
*You want some security? Demand government housing subsidies and a
guaranteed minimum income! They bailed out every broke mogul on the
planet, they might as well bail out the civil population...
*"A coherent picture of where your future is heading." Okay, fine.
Let's imagine you're three years old again. You want to give your Dad,
back in 1974, a coherent picture of what 2010 looks like. You know,
something very actionable, lucid and practical, where he can just slap
the cash on the counter and everything works out great for the family.
Okay: given what you know now about the present, tell me what you
oughta tell him about 2010, back in 1974. Use words of one syllable, so
he doesn't have a stroke.
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