Thursday, October 14, 2010

In the Year 2000

Do you remember when Conan O'Brien used to have a segment on his show called, "In the year 2000." He would put on goofy shirt and some light would flash up into his face, and then he would PREDICT THE FUTURE. I think it was even more funny when the year 2000 hit, he kept doing the sketch, name unchanged.

One professor recently asked our class, "where does Jesus come to us from?" Looks of blank expressions. Clarification: "Does Jesus mostly push us from the past or pull us from the future?"  Answer: "Jesus is pulling us from the future, into the future, saying come follow me."

Are you ever shock and awed by the future developments becoming present reality. I'm still impressed by glow-in-the-dark stuff, so when the first iPod came out... Moore's law (founder of Intel) predicted (somewhat conservatively it turns out) that the processing power of computers will double every 18 months and half in cost. If this continues to be true, as most futurists predict that it will, there will come a time in the not so distant future when computers will equal the processing power of the human brain. 18 months later, double human capacity. 18 months after that, four times the processing, and on and on.  Bill Joy wrote an article in Wired Magazine titled Why the Future Doesn't need us.
He poses a time in which humans could become immortal by pushing a button and downloading mind to microprocessor. (By the way, brain to computer interfaces already exist - think fighter pilots and prosthetics.) At one conference of genetic engineers, robotics experts and nanotechnology scientists, essentially nobody there doubted that there would come a time that technology would develop a spirituality.

Are these things we are talking about in our churches? What's amazing is that Bill Joy and others are recommending a moratorium on the advancing of GRIN technology (Genetics, Robotics, Information, Nano-technology) until the moral and ethical teachers help us to develop some boundaries like, should we push the button?

Can we talk about holograms? Did you see Elvis on Idol singing with Celine Dion?

People in the audience actually thought that Elvis looked more real than Celine Dion (I won't comment any further here). When the choir came out, I guarantee that the question the audience asked themselves was are they real?  This technology is going to become smaller, cheaper and more commonplace. I think in our google culture, our consumer culture, we are already asking in an increasing degree is it real. But there may come a time when touch will become the most important of all the senses. When "push-back" will become the litmus test for reality. When we will need to use touching in and touching out rituals "just to make sure." Mega-churches are already spending time, energy, and money on figuring out how to use holograms for satellite churches. 

I'm not going to say how we should use or think about technologies. I'm not proposing hysteria or isolation. I'm just hoping to stimulate a little thinking/feeling/playing. If God is moving, and technology and culture are changing, the question might be asked, how do we hit a moving target? Pointed question. Answer: We need to somehow get outside of it, ahead of it, and engage with it.

Here's my pathetic and maybe humorous attempt to predict the future....

In the year 2000 (read 2020)...
  • Churches will be both bigger and smaller.
  • Motion censor paper towel dispensers will move back to touch dispensers.
  • Highly liturgical churches will have more members than "contemporary" churches.
  • College students will not remember a time when people used keyboards.
  • There will be more women training to be pastors than men.
  • Electronic reading will surpass paper reading.
  • Mustache back in, goatee out.
  • The penny will be extinct from our currency. (they cost twice as much to make than worth). 
  • Storytelling and storytellers will be the keepers of culture and community.
  • A new communication medium tool with emerge: smellaphone and smellavision.  
(post stimulated and stolen from Len Sweet's class in christian communication, G.F.)

    1 comment:

    1. I'm okay with saying that Artificial Intelligence will become Real Intelligence.