Transitioning into the Hybrid Age

Paul Raven @ 10-05-2011

That’s what we’re doing right fuggin’ now, according to Parag and Ayesha Khanna at BigThink [via Kyle Munkittrick’s PopBioethics]:

Mankind is now experiencing its fifth and most intense technological revolution, and we are transitioning into the Hybrid Age. Most people believe we are still living in the Information Age, but in fact we have already reached an inflection point, a brewing storm that will once again drastically change individual life and society. The revolution in the nature of technology is fundamentally distinct from previous ones in five ways…

Those five ways are ubiquity, intelligence, socialisation, integration and disruptiveness. Not really new ideas to most Futurismic regulars, I’d imagine; more of a sort of umbrella-rebranding of a slow Singularitarianism, perhaps:

… what truly differentiates the Hybrid Age from previous revolutionary periods is that it will become global very quickly. Billions of the world’s poor from Africa to India are already participating in technological experimentation and have themselves become the innovators of paradigm-shifting services. In India, 8 million new mobile connections are activated every week. In Kenya, local engineers developed the mobile phone banking system Safaricom and M-Pesa that made traditional banks in the country immediately redundant. Chris Anderson, founder of TED, calls such disruption “crowd accelerated innovation.” Thus the poor who have access to technology will play an unexpected role in the Hybrid Age, using technology to create opportunities for themselves and unexpected disruptions for the developed world.

A slow singularity where the global poor bootstrap themselves up onto the G12’s playing field and start running with the ball? I’d love to see it; maybe getting shouldered aside by the young nations we’ve held back for so long might make us pull our collective heads out of our collective political backsides.

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One Response to “Transitioning into the Hybrid Age”

  1. SpeakerToManagers says:

    I’d like to see this happen, too, and it just might. Think about just one aspect of ubiquitous computing: making the entire human environment part of each individual’s computing space. Lots of people in the developed countries are thinking about how to do this, and there are some fascinating ideas involving intelligent architecture, distributed display and motion systems, etc., etc. But you can get almost the same effect more simply, more flexibly, and more cheaply if everyone has a data terminal and a heads-up display (aka smart phone plus pico-projector). Moreover, the intelligence of the system is massively distributed compared even to having computers in every window, wall, and door and on every street corner. Everyone passing one of those spots would have a computer and a display and software to mediate between the information available about the place and how the individual wants to process that information and how he or she wants to display it.

    And a lot of the development of the software that uses this environment will be crowd-sourced by some fraction of the 3 or 4 billion people who own mobile phones. This is going to cause nightmares for large corporations of the developed world who are trying to own all the intellectual property.