How to Ride the Fifth Wave

20 thoughts on “How to Ride the Fifth Wave”

  1. All very nice, but human nature remains the same. So expect brutal wars, massive fraud, lying, cheating, conspicuous consumption (has there ever been a time of more conspicuous — and vacuous — consumption?), and similar huge problems. A great irony is that despite the tremendous growth in the ability to communicate, horrors are at an all-time high, Iraq being a prime example. It certainly proves wrong the old liberal notion that if only people could communicate better, there would be peace.

    Isn’t it about time for the high-tech world to take a sabbatical and really discuss the purpose of ubiquitous computing? To play (mostly) dreadful music in all places and all times? To exchange inane messages? To avoid contemplation and thinking? To glory in the next silly gadget? To have porno at hand at all times? To be drugged for part of the day without having to ingest drugs?

    With MSFT turning much if not most of its attention to devising machines an software to play silly and often vicious games, one really needs to think long and hard about what is being wraught.

  2. the magazine is being shipped as we speak. i think it should be hands of readers soon enough.

    on the topic of human nature, wars and all those things which are part of post modern life, thomas i could not agree more. but what is the alternative? any suggestions.

    dustin, do agree that most of the bandwidth is in heavily populated areas, but the progress won’t stop, and while it seems impossible to believe in it right now, it should only be a matter of time. few months, few years, but then waves take a long time to unfold.

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  4. Om — Without going on at length and boring everyone, here’s one concern: Since the start of the popular Internet in the mid-1990s, it has been the common wisdom that there should be as little censorship and as little control as possible. Freedom should reign. But maybe reconsideration is necessary, as the Internet can be used in very damaging ways, such as stealing personal information, spamming, threatening in various ways, spreading misinformation, phishing, and so on. What if some of the religious quacks now dominant in Washington decided to really control society, and imprison people they considered deviant? There would be plenty of damning information available on the Internet, such as posted messages (like this one) and emails and short messages and ….

    My point is that some hard thought must be devoted to the Internet, how it is used, how it might be used. And perhaps it is time for rules and limits to be applied.

    Maybe there should be a year in which every new gadget is not mindlessly praised, and thought is given to where technological innovation is taking us.

  5. Om asks “but what is the alternative? any suggestions.”

    Well, maybe.

    It appears from this discussion that most would agree that when viewed from a a grander ultimate sort of perspective that the external changes discussed (new rules, preserve/protect freedom, more or less regulation of the Internet, technology, business, free vs regulated markets, economic theory, political theory) amount to little more than rearranging pieces on the same gameboard we’ve been playing on for quite some time.

    Perhaps the chaotic waves of technologies collapsing into and over each is not the cause of the chaos reflected in everyone’s thoughtful comments. Maybe it is the other way around: these upheavals reflect internal states of those who create and use these technologies.

    If that’s true or somewhat true, perhaps the problems of this game are not solved on the playing surface of this game. Perhaps our current version of the game is one that is run by the mind. Mabye the problems of the mind are not solved on the level of the mind.

    If so, then, maybe an answer to Om’s question is to cultivate an inner awareness and acceptance of what is. Upon dropping reactive resistance to change (labelling, judgement etc.) but remaining aware, perhaps one cultivates an internal peacefulness and internal freedom that radiates outward and allows external reality the room to evolve into the next version of the game.

  6. I just read the Biz 2.0 piece off the newstand (yes, in analog!).

    As a former VC and successful entrepreneur, the puece smacked to me of hype. A whole bunch of odds and ends were linked under the catchy (catch-all) banner “Fifth Wave” and book-ended by the usual pictures of smiling VCs and entrepreneurs in casual duds.

    I thought it was a puff piece. There was no critical analysis at all. It was not journalism; it was a manifesto. The tech industry always needs a new hype-meme, and since nano stiffed, devices are old (and new!), and dot-com is discredited (in the public’s mind) here comes the snazzy new “Fifth Wave”. But there is nothing new in this “Fifth Wave” that people weren’t saying–or hoping for–five or seven years ago. E.g.: tons of cheap always-connected gadgets; everything done online through the browser; death of record labels since bandwidth lets people buy music online; ASPs killing installed software; open source (remember Red Hat’s IPO?); many new forms of communities, etcetera, etcetera. It reminds me of the endless number of people that would breathlessly pin me down and me at conferences how one day you could use your cell phone with location services to “find the nearest Starbucks” (as if that is a pressing problem), each one saying it as if it was their own personal insight, nobody critically evaluating anything. It is classic dead-brained cult behavior.

    The reality is that tech-biz press sells mags by hyping the newest thing, by selling tomorrow’s utopia, and by bifurcating between those who “get it” (Gawd I hate that tired phrase) and the “dinosaurs”. There is almost never any critical thinking. That suits the VCs just fine, since they need to hype their investments before they exit, and it suits would-be entrepreneurs as well, and it suits big-tech advertisers, too. But it fails the public. The media should be figuring out what is snake-oil from what is medicinal, it should pierce the BS with tough questions and historical examples, not just shill for the insiders who need a new slogan to mezmerize the crowd.

    Fifth Wave my ass.

    * * *

    As an aside, Mr. Hirsch’s first post–“All very nice….ingest drugs?”–was brilliant and accords with my own views.

  7. Forget Hirsch’s first post. His second is even more ridiculous. Obviously only a demented, fulminating liberal like Hirsch could advocates exactly what he falsely ascribes to “Washington”.

    What a psycho piece of shit. The only quack is Hirsch.

    Classic case of projection.

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