Tag Archives: future

May 7th 2011 – Manifesto

Have you noticed a change in the world in the recent decade? I think a lot of us have, but we still keep on living as in the 20th century. Here are some myths that still exist from the 20th century (in no particular order).

Myth 1 – It is possible to get an adequate and truthful picture of the world through media. Many of us would agree to this statement, but still consume mainstream newscasts.

Myth 2 – There will be enough money in the system for my pension. I will be able to and can afford to retire. The terms and conditions for pension packages in the western world are unsustainable. Too generous terms, too many old people in relation to the young people. Too few babies as future taxpayers, labor or investors.

Myth 3 – The institutions around me are benevolent. Many governmental as well as private institutions were created post-WW2. This was a different time with different resources and do not function optimally in today’s world. Many of the institutions have become giant behemoths operating on their own inertia, responding slowly to change. They live a life of their own; they are hard to steer and perhaps even immune to the changes in political plane. Governments and ideologies come and go, leaving only a superficial impact on the institutions.

Myth 4 – The young people will have at least as good a standard of living as their parents did, or perhaps better. Increasing housing prices has created a barrier of entrance in the housing market for the young people. Many young people carry unsustainable housing debts. This compared with the next variable makes the ‘western model’ difficult to achieve for the young people.

Myth 5 – Rising youth unemployment does not matter to me. The youngsters can blame themselves if they can’t find jobs. (They’re just lazy anyway.) A person’s identity is well established by the age of 30. When young people (here meaning under 30 years) have no jobs, they’ll stay outside society. The social contract between them and the surrounding environment will be broken, with implications on society as a whole, possibly even leading to a larger scale disarmament of institutions over time. (For instance, it is already harder to find young people to stand up as witnesses in court or to get them to vote in elections.)

Myth 6 – It is possible to have a society with full employment. What do we in the post-industrial west are going to live off of? The factories have already moved to China. How about the ‘know-how’, engineering, design and mid-level management? These positions can be moved to China as well. Maybe the innovation and creativity-type jobs stay in Silicon Valley or Milan, but all the rest can go to China. What will replace this?

Myth 7 – The power is with the voters. The ‘institutions’ are massive, and profound policy changes hard to achieve. Changing the institutions takes longer time than governments or councils sit. The true power politicians have over the institutions is limited and superficial. The bureaucrats often have employment security lasting their whole working life, and it is often the same bureaucrats run the systems regardless of which parties hold the political ‘power’.

What will the future hold if the statements above actually are myths? Maybe Hanba’s wrong and all the ‘myths’ above will hold true. What do you think?

Have you seen a show called the wire? Hanba recommends!

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Virtual Or Real Taj Mahal?

The Taj Mahal, Agra (source: wili_hybrid)

The Taj Mahal, Agra (source: wili_hybrid)

Once, sitting on a bench by the Taj Mahal while waiting for the sunset to kick in, hanba dissected the experience she was busy having. The monument and the landscape surrounding it were spectacular indeed. Sharing the monument with thousands of people, however, was not entirely pleasant. Endless touts pushing expensive paraphrenalia. Pickpockets, classes of school children, numerous khaki-wearing tourists, gold-diggers. Hundreds of people queuing to get the shot of the Taj with the lake in the foreground.

Walking around the area and sitting on the bench, waiting for the sunset, hanba wished the “Taj crowd” would disappear for just ten minutes. It was hard to concentrate, to meditate on the building, amongst all the hustle. This made hanba wonder if the people in the future may prefer a virtual tour of the Taj instead? Here I do not mean just a computer-screen experience; maybe we can create  a “3D-helmet” that gives us a complete spatial experience together with smells and sounds. Or maybe, in the future, we can look at the Taj on a Star Trek style holodeck?

Many people would automatically give the real experience more value than the virtual.  However, it can be questioned if the tout-laden business venture the monument has become can be defined as “real” either. Perhaps the solemnity of this tombstone monument can be better appreciated alone, without the hustle?

Given the chance, we would probably want to see the monument in a natural state. This, however, is impossible. The world has an ever growing number of citizens, many of whom want to travel to the great monuments of civilization.  A single individual cannot see the monuments in an entirely natural state.  In both the “real” and virtual cases, we are bound to be fed an experience provided by business entrepreneurs. It is best to drop the illusion of a “natural state” and make the best of it. Be it the tout-laden reality or the calm but virtual experience.

Hanba is big on lists. Here’s yet another, comparing the benefits of a “real” vs virtual Taj experience:

“Real”

  • The chance gets a greater role. Perhaps you talk to a stranger and end up having an interesting conversation.
  • You get to experience the culture around the monument, not just the building.
  • You get to see the aging of the monument, which is an important part of the real experience. You get the latest decay update.
  • The weather conditions will vary; you will get a unique experience based on the weather.
  • You support the local enterprises.
  • The real experience is the “default”. It is hard to say you have experienced the monument in today’s world if you have not been there physically.

Virtual

  • You will not be disturbed, you will be able to focus.
  • It is cheaper than traveling all the way to the monument (this is also better for the environment).
  • While with the virtual tour may not give you a the cultural experience, your architectural experience may be stronger.
  • You will skip the ugly feeling of being exploited by the touts.
  • The net generation is accustomed to seeing virtual, 3D images since childhood. A virtual tour of the Taj can hardly be considered revolutionary for this generation. Furthermore, this generation may not have the same predilection for “real” things that the previous generations have had. In the future, virtual may be the default over the “real”.

When the sun finally set behind the Taj, the wind was soft. The clouds covered most of the vivid colors, but it was still a very beautiful sunset. Flashlights were busy, and  the surrounding tourists were chattering. Tea and bisquits were being sold. Afterwards, all the tourists all headed out to the city at once.