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Awesome New World

From www.publicknowledge.org... I haven't read it but love the title

Emily Puckett Rodgers and I are working on a program to help connect technically minded folks in Ann Arbor, through A2Geeks.  It's forced me to think a lot about who geeks are, why they are important, and how they connect with the Awesome New World which is the future.  I have a strong perspective, but had a hard to expressing it, so I sat down today to give it a shot.  This is what I came up with:

Geeks are people who believe that the world is fundamentally good

What do I mean when I say Geeks?  Geeks are people who believe that the world is fundamentally good, even if parts of it are not yet.  People who share first and ask questions later.  People who believe that technical details matter.  People who never outsource their responsibility for the actions they take or take part in.  People who see money as a means to an end, not a means in of itself.  People who want to spend most of their waking hours doing something meaningful and then can't help but shout their results from the rooftops.  People who are incapable of being disingenuous.  To sum it up, geeks live in a world of abundance because they are connected and understand the means of production, creativity, and innovation - these things are known variables.  They can control the physical world around them.  They derive happiness from the creative process and its results.

Right now it seems that Geeks are generally both underappreciated and often taken advantage of by people willing to see money as an end (and people as the means), who check their morality at the door of their office, and who hide first and share only when forced.  To sum up the difference, these people live in a world of scarcity.  They see production, creativity, and innovation as a wild beast to tame and extract value from.  They cannot control the physical world around them, so they control the world of human beings.  They derive happiness from extracting value.

I would like more people to believe in the vision of the Geeks, because the more people who do, the more real that world will be.  Does everyone who shares this vision need to be a technical person?  No, definitely not.  But I do think first-hand experience in achieving technical expertise is the foundation for understanding the world around us, and therefore of really groking this vision.  Lacking that knowledge makes the vision more frail and easily lost.

The idea of humans "managing" humans will be as quaint in the future as the idea of renting a movie from the Rent-a-Flick

What is technical expertise?  Any expertise which directly produces goods or services or develops skills which result in that production.  That is the heart of the value human beings provide.  Soon, everything outside of that will be done by computers, algorithms, search engines, and other automated systems.  The idea of humans "managing" humans will be as quaint in the future as the idea of renting a movie from the Rent-a-Flick.  As automation overtakes immense swaths management, accounting, book-keeping, taxes, marketing, etc., the work that will remain will be highly creative and technical in nature.  It is the reverse of what happened during the Industrial Revolution - instead of the workers being replaced, now the managers are being replaced.  Are we there yet?  Nope.  Do we still need managers, accountants, lawyers, and everyone else?  Yep.  But that's quickly changing.

As we roll into the future, the Geeks will learn how to become decision makers while today's Decision Makers will learn more technical expertise.  From the outside these two populations will begin look the same: all technically minded decision makers.  But there is one key difference - one will have a mentality of scarcity, while the other will have a mentality of abundance.

My vote is for abundance.

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