29 May 2009

Tinkering to the future

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Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, researcher director at the Institute for the Future, is working on a book on the end of cyberspace – which he thinks will come as the internet moves off desktops and screens and becomes embedded in things, spaces and minds. So what lies beyond cyberspace, he asks in an essay he wrote for Vodafone’s Receiver magazine. We might find out if we tinker hard enough …

“Tinkering is growing in importance as a social movement, as a way of relating to technology and as a source of innovation. Tinkering is about seizing the moment: it is about ad-hoc learning, getting things done, innovation and novelty, all in a highly social, networked environment.

What is interesting is that at its best, tinkering has an almost Zen-like sense of the present: its ‘now’ is timeless. It is neither heedless of the past or future, nor is it in headlong pursuit of immediate gratification. Tinkering offers a way of engaging with today’s needs while also keeping an eye on the future consequences of our choices. And the same technological and social trends that have made tinkering appealing seem poised to make it even more pervasive and powerful in the future. Today we tinker with things; tomorrow, we will tinker with the world.”

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(In short, we are all hackers now).

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