As a science and tech journalist I used to regularly attend COMDEX and more recently CES –the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. After several years I was able to return.
This time I was also privileged to attend Showstoppers, a press-only event that is more intimate and showcases some of the newest and most amazing technology. From an “evolutionary” perspective it is interesting to consider the utility or necessity of many of these commercial products, but two things are apparent:
- The ingenuity of the scientific brain is incredible especially when incentivized by monetary reward
- As a species we seem to be expanding our sensory capacity both through the Internet (which is truly a planetary nervous system) and individually with devices that seem to bring reality closer and closer
Whether any of this is “real” is a personal issue to explore; however the implications of our ability to augment “the dream” with more and more smart devices that mimic our own intelligence is incredible.
For one thing consciousness seems to be “spreading” to our inanimate objects. One big buzz that has been building is the “Internet of Things” – the proliferation of connected devices which is interesting if you consider the perspective of someone who already believes everything is connected through consciousness and an immense intelligence is everywhere.
But now corporations have expanded their reach not just wirelessly but seemingly to everything.
For example there is a toothbrush that communicates via an app with your mobile device and presumably nags you, like a dental hygienist, about how well you are brushing and where. The Oral B Smartseries is Bluetooth connected.
Glide’s live video messaging app marries the convenience of texting with the richness of video. Here is a sample.
Some Technological Highlights
Here are some other examples of exhibitors that are stretching the envelope of consumer goods and in some ways seem to potentially expand our consciousness:
Instant outdoor lights that move and set mood –nice for meditation – www.Blisslights.com
Monitors that offer incredible resolution and depth – jaw dropping 4K video on an LG monitor equipped with DIVX encoding technology in its interface.
How about expanding our personal space and reach –for better or worse. Would you like your own personal drone –www.hobbico.com? Its ORA drone turns flyers into aerial filmmakers with a 1080P HD camera, a 7” First Person Video FPV screen built into the controller, and a GPS autopilot system for easy flying.
From a utilitarian standpoint it gets easier and easier to print documents anywhere – Small portable printer for under $400
Now you can use the power of the Internet and Twitter to use hashtags to upload graphics and video content to any monitor – https://enplug.com/
How about getting around more easily without a bike or car? Solowheel is a portable, tiny device that combines the mobility of a skateboard with Segway to easily move around on wheels.
We’ve already discussed 3D printing on Collective Evolution –now there is a 3D printing stylus that creates plastic models in thin air.
The interface between man (or woman) and computer continues to improve. There is now better voice recognition and a wireless mouse that attaches to your finger and lets you navigate, scroll and click with gestures.
Education and presentation technology is being expanded with more functional and better interactive whiteboards that capture brainstorming digitally and easily transmit it to and via mobile devices.
A Conscious Look At These Improvements
The question deserves to be asked what all of these external “improvements” accomplish and at what price to our serenity and peace?
But the fact is that we are presently living in a technologically amazing age and those that understand and ultimately master the capacity to use these kinds of devices will do better in “the dream.”
It is very much like the video game where the player or avatar is given various tools to get points or negotiate with the virtual world. At one time most of these kinds of “improvements” were weapons that could be used to slaughter other humans more efficiently. At least now we are also creating tools that seem to expand our physical and sensory capabilities.
The danger it seems to me is that these devices and their proliferation make us take “the dream” more and more seriously as we get seduced and intoxicated by the seeming control we continue to exercise over the environment.
When I first began to lose interest in the “more and always newer and improved” aspect of software and the compulsion to adopt the “latest” I became disenchanted with this aspect; my instinct was to look inside and become quieter and more attentive to my organic nature – and to unplug.
But the allure of these kinds of products and shows is profound and amazing. CES continues to attract thousands to Las Vegas and of course tech is an industry that is still in exponential growth.
One can only hope that we can continue to expand inside as well as outside so that these devices can provide us with the leisure to truly become more human, rather than hypnotize us into the illusion that we are the controllers and masters of reality.
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