|By Shelly Palmer||
|December 31, 2012 10:41 PM EST||
We have become addicted to catastrophes and end of days predictions. We have become, in a word from Gary Alexander: Apocaholics. In a 2007 web essay, Alexander began a long list on Armageddon- that-never-were with the following preamble:
Hi, I’m Gary and I’m a recovering Apocaholic. I am currently Apocalypse free for nearly 18 years. I left the church of the Religious Apocalypse in 1976, over 30 years ago, and I resigned from the secular church of the Financial Apocalypse in 1989. Yes, I still feel the urge to proclaim the end of all things, from time to time, but I white-knuckle my way to a history book for a little perspective, and then I breathe easier. If you wish to join AA, the only requirement is that you give up the adrenaline rush of media-fed fantasies.
Since I spoke to you last on this subject, in 1994, we have survived “Bankruptcy 1995” (the original epidemic of Hockey Stock charts), the Big Bang in Hong Kong, years of Y2K scare stories, a SARS epidemic, Mad Cow disease, Bird Flu, a real threat on 9/11, Triple Deficits (Budget, Trade and Balance of Payments), wars in Serbia/Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, Deflation in 2003, Inflation since then, The Perfect Storms of 2005 (Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the 3 Witches of the Bermuda Triangle), and today’s reigning fears of Global Warming, $200 Oil and the Sub-prime Housing Loan Crisis Implosion.
But before we go from today’s Sub-prime to the ridiculous claims of imminent collapse, let me introduce the depths of my past addiction to the Apocalypse. I was born in July 1945, the day the first atomic bomb exploded in Alamogordo, New Mexico. That mushroom crowd has haunted our lives ever since. As a teenager, I became convinced the world would end before I was 30. Too soon old…too late smart, I was very, very wrong.
Taking a cue from Alexander, Matt Ridley, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal and author of The Rational Optimist, produced a well-researched and balanced look at apocaholism for WIRED magazine called “Apocalypse Not” (8/17/12).
He observes: “The past half century has brought us warnings of population explosions, global famines, plagues, water wars, oil exhaustion, mineral shortages, falling sperm counts, thinning ozones, acidifying rain, nuclear winters, Y2K bugs, mad cow epidemics, killer-bees, sex-change fish, cell-phone-induced brain cancer epidemics and climate catastrophes. All of these specters tuned out to be exaggerated.”
Ridley’s piece highlights the adverse effects of being a world of apocaholics. We make bad personal and policy decisions. Level-headed, middle ground approaches to real issues like climate change are not considered, and the moderate “lukewarmers” are never given a voice.
Ridley ends his piece like this: “We will combat our ecological threats in the future by innovating to meet them as they rise, not through the mass fear stoked by worst-case scenarios.”
In a world of apocaholics, there is nothing but extremes. You have two choices: Tuesday or Doomsday. There’s no in-between. This can be dangerous. We’ve seen this played out recently with climate change. In the apocaholics’ view, the world is either going to end or everything is fine. (Apocaholics and most any –aholics are really good at denial). Climate scientists have suffered from this bipolar conundrum. For years we’ve been told that we’re either all going to die from climate change or we’re told that everything is fine. Of course, neither of these is correct.
The trouble with real problems is that they aren’t as clear as a massive planet on a collision course with the Earth, nor are they prophecies from an ancient civilization that give an actual day and time when everything goes to hell. The sober truth is that real problems are not as simple as Tuesday or Doomsday. I love a good end of the world story as much as the next person, but to solve the real problems facing us, our children and our planet we need to grow up.
“I take everyone’s extreme interest as a compliment,” Joe told me as we finished up our conversation. He’s extraordinarily level-headed that way. “The reason why people love apocalypses so much is that they love science and just don’t know it. It lets them get interested in the sun and science and the future and the wonderment of the natural world. Also, the end of the world makes us all the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re from a red state or a blue state… all the petty reasons we fight and argue don’t matter anymore. If they sun blows up and the world ends, it’s bad for all of us.”
Staring Down Both Barrels of the Earth’s Shotgun
I spent my apocalypse in Cannon Beach, Oregon. The evening of 12/21/12 found me standing on the back deck of the Surf Sand Resort, watching the raging Pacific Ocean in the moonlight. In December, the coast in the Pacific Northwest is cold and rainy and windy. The surf is violent and loud as it smashes into the sand and spreads debris across the beach. It was a perfect place to watch the world end.
Cannon Beach is located on the Northern coast of Oregon. It’s a small town with a picturesque downtown and some really great pubs. It also sits right next to the off shore Cascadia fault, where the Juan del Fuca Plate is sliding under the North American Plates. This plate tectonic action can bring about deep and severe earthquakes out in the Pacific, followed by powerful tsunamis. It’s not a matter of IF… it’s a matter of WHEN. And when it does happen, beautiful Cannon Beach is sitting in the cross-hairs of that destruction.
I watched the violent winter ocean that night, knowing that when a catastrophe strikes this part of the coast, the very deck I was standing on would be destroyed. I was staring down both barrels of one of the Earth’s many shotguns. But it cleared my head of all this apocalypse chatter. I wasn’t scared. (Cannon Beach and many towns on the Oregon coast have a well-planned evacuation route and safe high ground isn’t very far away.)
I looked up at the unseasonably clear sky and thought about Carl Sagan and the quote from his groundbreaking 1980 TV show Cosmos. I could hear him say, “We are all made of star stuff.” It was Sagan’s lovely idea that we are all made of the same things; the elements that make up our bodies come from the stars. We are made of the same stuff that space scientists like Joe Kunches have been watching and tracking with their incredibly powerful telescopes. We have a connection not only to this world but to the entire it cosmos.
In the face of that, all this apocalypse talk became trivial. When we think about our future, are we looking in the wrong places? How would our vision for the future change? Would we continue to fight and bicker about the same problems? If we are all made of stars, all standing on the edge of this lovely and violent planet together, couldn’t we imagine a very different future for ourselves?
It made the end of the world seem silly.
DISCLAIMER: I am Intel’s futurist. I am currently on sabbatical from Intel. My thoughts, observations and analyses are mine personally and I am not speaking on behalf of Intel.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 1, 2015 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 483
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Aug. 1, 2015 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 328
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 295
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 30, 2015 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,414
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Jul. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 126
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jul. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,070
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
Jul. 30, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,171
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 29, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,287
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect their organization.
Jul. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,194
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 28, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,772
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
Jul. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,047
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jul. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,038
Akana has released Envision, an enhanced API analytics platform that helps enterprises mine critical insights across their digital eco-systems, understand their customers and partners and offer value-added personalized services. “In today’s digital economy, data-driven insights are proving to be a key differentiator for businesses. Understanding the data that is being tunneled through their APIs and how it can be used to optimize their business and operations is of paramount importance,” said Alistair Farquharson, CTO of Akana.
Jul. 27, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 332
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jul. 27, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,907
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, analyzed how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI Intelligence, he worked analyzing bank technology for Corporate Insight and The Clearing House Payment...
Jul. 26, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,582
"Optimal Design is a technology integration and product development firm that specializes in connecting devices to the cloud," stated Joe Wascow, Co-Founder & CMO of Optimal Design, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 399
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and simplified management of data on complex storage networks. CommVault's exclusive single-platform architecture gives companies unp...
Jul. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,966
Electric Cloud and Arynga have announced a product integration partnership that will bring Continuous Delivery solutions to the automotive Internet-of-Things (IoT) market. The joint solution will help automotive manufacturers, OEMs and system integrators adopt DevOps automation and Continuous Delivery practices that reduce software build and release cycle times within the complex and specific parameters of embedded and IoT software systems.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 481
"ciqada is a combined platform of hardware modules and server products that lets people take their existing devices or new devices and lets them be accessible over the Internet for their users," noted Geoff Engelstein of ciqada, a division of Mars International, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,544
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,494