I continue to be baffled by the behavior of my Fellow-Americans. Once the most advanced nation in the world – now they are has-beens – without the slightest awareness of this.
But this is an over-simplification – there are two kinds of Americans, products of two different economies. The first was the Industrial Economy, that it got from its parent – Great Britain. A fortunate inheritance, but a troubled one, that they did not have the time to sort out properly. Before they got hit with the next one.
We don’t have a label yet for the next one – but I will call it the Information Economy. An inadequate label, because it was the product of two technologies – TV and the Computer.
TV overwhelmed its viewers, and turned them into couch-potatoes and consumers – precisely what its owners wanted. I remember when this happened, in the Fifties – and how there was considerable awareness of its effects – by McLuhan, for example. But despite this awareness, by a few – it proceeded to take over, and people the world over are now in its grip. They expect the media to provide most of their daily information. TV prepared the world for the Computer and the Internet.
The Computer evolved rapidly – from the mainframe computer, that took up a whole room – to the smartphone that anyone can hold in their hand. All tied together by its networks – the Internet and the Wireless. People now spend more time with their iPhone, than they do with other people.
All this, TV and the Computer, appeared in only sixty years! Now I must say more about the Computer. Which America has firmly under its control.
Let me explain – America leads the world in its Software – the stuff that controls the Computer. But it is smart enough to share this control with others – the software that protects my computer against viruses, for example, is made in Russia!
Americans are not too bright, in a number of ways – but with Software, they have really brightened up. I continue to be amazed by the developments there.
Check this Artificial Intelligence newsletter. Software geeks are eager to explain to everyone else what they are doing. But they are so far ahead – no one else can understand them.
There are now two worlds, and a vast gulf divides them.
This is tragic, there should be one world only, with everything nicely unified under it.