Where is our Ark parked?

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Image Source: Paul Symes

‘The single raindrop never feels responsible for the flood’ 

Douglas Adams (Author, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)

The biblical story of Noah and the Ark symbolises the saving of humanity as the world fell into decay by erasing what existed and starting again. This flood metaphor, however, is long predated by Mesopotamian poets and the Flood Tablet, one of the world’s oldest existing pieces of literature.  It is also revealed in other religious and cultural texts from India, the Aztecs, Egypt and Scandinavia and others. Prompted by the voice of God, Noah gathered his immediate family, a male and female of each species on earth and lots of food in an ark he builds, a ship that only sailed when the world flooded. When the rain ends a dove is released to find out if they could emerge for their new beginning. 

The recent report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change giving us 12 years to clean up our act before the consequences of environmental destruction cannot be reversed reminded me of the story on a very rainy day. Noah, certain of the upcoming destruction decided to move ahead with this incredulous task for many years despite the jeers and naysayers. Today we have proof of the effects of global warming and increasing collective will yet not enough economic and political might to slow it down. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and erupting volcanoes have quickened pace. We have been hit by floods from rain which our grand-parents say falls a bit harder than before. We have been scorched by a hotter sun shining at a time that our great-grandparents say it hasn’t shone. The voice we hear is loud and we are all witness to environmental change and disasters.

A different Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, is also described in the bible. A structure created to house 10 commandments issued by God to guide human behaviour in ancient times. Do we create an Ark which tells us the rules by which all of us should abide?  One, that goes beyond religious, ethnic and cultural man-made distinctions? If so how will the rules form? who will be responsible? In the past few years technology has advanced at a rate faster than ever before in human history so what role will technology play? Are there rules being embedded in the technology we use? Will the world speak with one voice and build a Tower of Babel to overcome our collective irks and maybe rocket us all to another planet in the galaxy? Or are we each just going to build our own ark.

The rich in Silicon Valley have been building their mini personal arks, and I’ll hazard a guess, that they don’t have any animals on board. People have gone looking for these arks but their existence hasn’t been scientifically proven and they have not been definitively found.

Where is your ark parked? Does anyone know where our ark is parked?

Can a dove help us find it?

‘Let your love be like the misty rain, coming softly but flooding the river’ 

Liberian proverb

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Image Source: Ayuugyi [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Aliens are already here…

‘The genie is out of the bottle. We need to move forward on artificial intelligence development but we also need to be mindful of its very real dangers. I fear that AI may replace humans altogether. If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that will outperform humans.’ 

Professor Stephen Hawking

Computer Science Woman Artificial Intelligence

Source: Max Pixel

Space enthusiasts have been forever arguing for the existence of life beyond earth. Researchers and popular culture speculate on alien encounters and potential alien take-over. Scientists suggest that Artificial Intelligence can help us to find aliens on other planets. Yet it seems like we may have been creating aliens all on our own even if we didn’t know it. These aliens have not come from ‘out of space’. Informed by the data we inevitably give they are not only a mirror of us but an exaggeration of our good, bad and our terrifyingly ugly. They know who we are and increasingly what we think. They are becoming better at predicting what we will do and where we will be. In the seminal book by George Orwell, 1984 there were few places where you could just be in a world characterised by surveillance. It’s the same today for anyone using technology or anyone who happens to be in its vicinity.

It’s worth reading/watching Wired Magazine’s ‘When Tech Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself’ which features an interview with Yuval Harari and Tristan Harris. They say our brains have been hacked, explain real-world consequences, and what may be yet to come. They also give some practical ideas on how to start dealing with this by suggesting you acknowledge what is happening and gain more self-awareness. I agree it’s not a solution, but it’s the only way to start.

Aliens are watching you right now.

Aliens are already here…

An answered call…

Hello!

“Another world is not only possible, it’s already on her way.

On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Arundhati Roy

I love reading and I love writing, especially poetry. My curiosity about what it means to be and how we use and change the technology we create to interpret that has increased exponentially with the birth of my son. It’s what made me yield to my mindful, inner push to create and to write here today. Even though the site is not at all perfected and this takes 20 minutes away from working on my thesis, that keeps shouting at me about that looming deadline.

I guess it really is no coincidence that I am doing a PhD in Web Science,  which looks at how the web intersects with the every day. It tries to bring greater understanding of fields, worlds, outside of what we call our own by forging new ideas and different connections for a positive way forward.

I’ll be posting here articles and opinions on technology-related issues, how we impact them and they impact us. My poetry and prose will I hope also inspire, and I’ll link you to any authors that I find interesting and thought-provoking. Let’s see what comes from answering this moment’s call. I hope you hear and answer your nagging call today too.

Ring…

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