Saturday 25 December 1999


Pic of the day: Portrait of me, taken by Superwoman's younger sister.

Christmas day

We got a bit late to bed, but I slept a bit late too. Not quite enough, I guess, but not too bad. Superwoman got the flu, too. She may be tougher than me, but months with lack of sleep take their toll. I still hope to be able to be back in Kristiansand and do the Y2K stuff, and I try to keep positive expectations here. But there is something called hubris, and arrogance too. I do not want to make absolute promises on behalf of God without a written guarantee for the case in question.

Today was a peaceful day. Eating with friendly people, playing games, and finally watching some movie about a young woman who marries a guy against her mother's better judgement. They proceed to move from Houston, which everybody else think is a bad idea to do, and live in Des Moines. Time passes, the number of kids increase to three, and various people have sex with various other people they are not wed to. All the time people phone each other. The family moves to Nebraska, the woman dies from cancer and the film ends. I guess I was blinking back a few tears. The girls loved it. I'm not sure if that was for the dying or the sex (implied, not shown) or perhaps something else. The children were sort of cute, I guess.


I have been thinking about the upcoming end of mankind's dominance, at least mankind as we know it. As you may have noticed, the computers become ever more powerful and interlinked. (Then again, so do we.) I talked about this with Superwoman and her younger sister before bedtime. They do not think that the new gadgets will really catch on, like partly translucent goggles that let you look at TV or the Web while you're walking around. They pointed out that the Walkman and its successors have not taken over our lives, and predict that the mobile phone fad will subside too. It sure has not done so yet. -And this is in Norway. In most of the world, including the USA, this is still to come. The Nordic countries have arrived at the point where virtually everyone has a mobile phone. (Superwoman's younger sister got one for Christmas, to her dismay.)

I agree that possibility is not enough. Technology must be attractive to fully penetrate society. The mobile phone seems to be that, though, and I suspect that it will be as common as the wrist watch. In fact, I suspect that the wrist watch, mobile phone, and Internet will be one and the same within a decade or two. I think people will be very very reluctant to have computer chips implanted in their brains and stuff like that, but still ... having instant access to everything and everyone in the world on your wrist is going to change you. Just like urbanites today are very different from the rural commoner of a hundred years ago. Only more so, I think.

Yet there is a sense of foreboding on me this Christmas. I feel that we are starting to approach a change. Not the Singularity in which superhuman computers will replace the human race ... I actually doubt that nature is that easily outcompeted. But some fundamental change to our sense of humanity. It does not come with the rather random year 2000. It is further away (unless some idiot sends up the wrong type of rockets on New Year's night). If I live long enough, I will no doubt try again to describe this vision from closer up.

Regardless, a merry Christmas or whatever excuse you may have for peace and goodwill to all men, and women and children first.

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