Like clockwork, life works in cycles. The solar eclipse appears in circle. Look out for the next one in August 21, 2017. The seven-year economical and agriculture cycles will determine the inflated prices of your cheeseburger. We can predict the next breed of children that will shape the new world through Strauss-Howe generational theory. Oh, by the way, the Great Recession, just like the Great Depression, is around the corner according to the duo.
The groovy news is that influence in music, fashion and the arts today are informed—more than ever—by the days of vinyl, period styles and laborious craftsmanship respectively. Yay to the return of jazz standards while the world collapses.
We can monitor our inherent cycles, too. Because, at this rate, we are becoming even more preoccupied to notice that we exist. There’s an app for that—Pacifica, for one, that tracks when you are in a Leonard DiCaprio Oscar-winning mood or that-character-he-plays-in-The Revenant-mood.
We have all these soft and hard data that allows our assumptions of the future to be tested. It’s like watching a Michael Bay film. Transformers 2020? Yeah, watch that; vicariously. So if we can envision the future from recorded patterns and cycles, why are we still tripping on the same old shoelaces?
Futurist and author Ray Kurzweil, who’s also the Chief Engineer at Google, opines that the impediment with humans is that we think linearly instead of exponentially. Singularity, he believes, will be achieved in 2045 when artificial intelligence surpasses our understanding of it. That is exponential growth. He best explained this with a reference to a folklore in his 2001 essay, The Singularity is Near.
According to the story, an emperor was impressed by the invention of a game called chess. He asked the inventor to name his reward. So the inventor requested for a grain of rice for the first square of the board, two grains for the next square, four for the next, and so on for the all 64 squares. The emperor, seeing that this was a measly reward, agreed to it. The final count on the 64th square was 18 quintillion grains. That’s a lot of carbs for one person. Not a problem, the inventor was beheaded anyway. The emperor carried out his thought process linearly; the inventor, exponentially.
Since IBM’s Deep Blue beat chess master Garry Kasparov in 1997, artificial intelligence has gotten faster and smarter. AI is doing what we couldn’t; learning from every known mistake and unreservedly fixing it.
On our first revamped issue, we pick out creative visionaries from the past and the present—the thinkers and doers that have helped shape the world as we know it. And it’s a long list: Dev Patel, Ai Weiwei, Hayao Miyazaki, P Ramlee, Speak Cryptic, Jahan Loh, Ravi Shankar, Juan Luna, Chrismansyah Rahadi and more.
If technology grows exponentially and humanity regresses linearly, that’s a frightening place to be in. I might be an idealist, but with an accelerated change to a world that is becoming less familiar, there’s a greater need to call out to any form that’s, figuratively, taking us back into the Stone Age.