What Technology Wants

what-technology-wantsA couple of years ago, Robert Krulwich, one of the affable, avuncular hosts of WNYC’s Radiolab, interviewed a very leading-edge guy named Kevin Kelly and another writer, Steven Johnson – also very interesting but it’s Mr. Kelly I’ll focus on here. Kevin Kelly can include in his resumé that he was an editor of the Whole Earth Catalog and is the founding executive director of Wired magazine. I thought I should listen.

In his book (which I’m just now reading)  What Technology WantsMr. Kelly proposes that the ” . . . global, massively interconnected system of technology vibrating around us . . . has some degree of autonomy. “ To my great relief he names this agitated entity The Technium and not The Matrix.  And he tempers the notion by saying, “I don’t believe the technium is conscious (at this point).” OK, the tempering is tagged with foreboding but let’s not go there right now, Mr.  Anderson. He fleshes this out with the idea that technology has “ . . . needs, a compulsion toward something . . . The technium wants what we design it to want and what we try to direct it to do.” More provocation . . . Continue reading

An iPad at the Ordway

My piano student Lisa and I attended a Schubert Club concert at the Ordway in January featuring cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnatan. The concert was a delight on every level. Weilerstein brought well-deserved star status but the performance was not a soloist + accompanist affair; it was a true partnership and a great evening of music making.

There was another ‘player’ on the stage that evening, an iPad in place of the music desk; a silent partner which, by being nearly invisible, avoided the usual page-turning sideshow. From our perch facing straight on in the upper balcony we couldn’t see the iPad at first and we questioned the wisdom of playing such a demanding duo program without music. But then I saw it and thought, “Well, there you have it, the iPad has arrived!” Continue reading