Tuesday, October 11, 2005

James Burke on the next 50 (42 really) years

At lunch today, James Burke came up in conversation.

For those of you that don't know him, he's a author/speaker/historian/etc/etc who is most famous for his Connections series of programs done back in the 70's, 80's and 90's. More detail on Burke here.

I freakin' LOVE Connections and continually wrestle with dishing out the $150/per for the 3 box sets.

Anyhow, after doing some searching, I found out that Burke's opening speech from the ACM97 conference is available online here. (the video starts at slide 2 or 3)

You have to click through the slides one at a time and click the video icon on the top right for each individually, but it's well worth it. He's very entertaining, and his comments are as pertinent today as they were then.

Go watch it now. It's good for your brain!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I surfed in hear by searching to find out what James Burke is up to lately. Yesterday I rewatched the conclusion of "Connections (1978) and found it a hoot. James got a lot right, but he and most of us might be getting it wrong on what we have become. Consider that society may be coming full circle back to a "hunter-gather" existence. Note that all products are becoming application specific (i.e. We don't buy ammonia, but do buy "window cleaner") Yes, we now go to stores and find what we need from millions of task specific choices. With this in mind, and given that this is 2009 and I am a retired designer of computer processors, I thought it would be fun to comment for you on your banner quote. by Robert A. Heinlein

"A human being should be able to change a diaper"

Of course we can. The instructions are on the packaging.

"Plan an invasion"

We could, but like always we invade impulsively without a plan.

"butcher a hog"

What is a hog? If you mean "ham" it exist in abundant quantities in uniform slices in the dairy case next to the cheese.

"conn a ship, pitch manure or fight efficiently"

Sure, but we do this by ordering machines to do these things far better than people can.

"Design a building"

No problem, just get "Building Designer" for your laptop and run the Designer-A-Building wizard.

"write a sonnet"

No problem, just get "Sonnet Writer" for your laptop and run the Make-A-Sonnet wizard.

balance accounts,

No problem, just get "Instant Accountant" for your laptop and run the Balance-That-Account wizard.

build a wall

Sorry, what does "build" mean? Aren't walls always created by people who speak a different language?

"give orders"

YES!! - We are highly skilled at this

"cooperate," sometimes we do. "act alone" always

While on the Net, we are always collaborating, and at the same time we are mostly alone.

"solve equations. analyze a new problem,"

Few of us know of these, unless you mean the "one" equation of our training, or a "problem" that can be worked with that.

Not to worry though. Computers sort all problems and present them to the correct person qualified to solve them no matter where in the world that person may be.