As part of my effort to dive into music creation I purchased a small audio recorder for the purpose of having something handy to hum into when a tune is in my head – hoping to preserve that until I can actually try to recreate it in Garageband. It is slightly larger than I had hoped (2x the size of a flash drive) and I probably won’t be carrying it on my key ring but as I read through the tiny manual that came with it I realized how amazingly capable it is for less than $10US. Actually, I’m quite blown away by it.
As if anybody needs to repeat this, we truly are in a technological revolution. I don’t think I’m speaking only for myself to say that we take so much for granted. I do believe the pace at which we are advancing will either kill us or save us from ourselves – there is little room for anything in between. Hopefully we will find the answers to the problems we are creating in time to not destroy all life on this planet though I often have my doubt.
As a born again fan of science fiction – especially that which takes guesses at what the future holds for our species – I am especially intrigued with everything virtual. It is ‘fun’ to be able to play and create music with any instrument that can be imagined, sampled or re-created within DAWs (digital audio workstations) such as Garageband. As I have been learning how to do this one of the things that has struck me how much we listen to now has been created using these virtual instruments and I’d venture to say that most of us – at least my age – have no idea of how prevalent it is. Nor did I know that some popular music isn’t even written by humans but by AI enabled by studies of what we find pleasing. As we debate the pros and cons of robots and how they are growing influence every day, in more subtle ways often unseen and unrealized, ai and virtuality are already pushing us down that road.
As we go down this untraveled road, an expanding population that isn’t content with consuming only enough to survive but also demanding material goods for status and entertainment which grow old and get thrown away, it is the embrace of virtual goods and experiences that will save us.
If we are to survive on this planet while the population grows, we must reduce our consumption and find ways to reuse the waste we create. We must curb our appetite that is depleting the environment that supports us and the other beings we live with. If we are to become interstellar travelers, material objects of entertainment will be limited. The answer to both of these is virtual reality. Think holodeck.
It doesn’t take too much of a leap from there to imagine the risks and perils as depicted in the Matrix series but it is often said that science fiction becomes fact…if we can imagine it we can make it and if there is incentive, we probably will.
There is plenty of incentive. Survival for one but at what cost? Knowing the perils should permit us to prepare for and avoid them.