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The Illusion of Change

Mar. 18th , 2013

Tonight I'm paying my first visit to something called "innopints". It's a loose, occasional gathering started by George Julian I think (here's one of her earlier articles about it).

The theme is "change". It's a fairly open topic but, in the absence of any other guidance I've written some of my own thoughts on the subject below.


Does the networked era mean that the illusion of change far outstrips the reality?

This Wired article suggests that we're living in one of the least innovative periods in recent history. And yet every day seems like a constant barrage of innovation.

So, is this innovation just talk or is it simply that the nature of change itself has changed? Does all the innovation add up to a new kind of change that can't be measured in relation to the achievements of the past or is all the talk just a smokescreen for the limited amount of doing?

I think there's some truth in the latter. One of the most telling signs, perhaps, is the gradual shift in meaning of the word "tech".

Tech used to be a largely hardware word. In recent history we've seen the invention of the computer, the mobile phone and the internet. Now, however, the word tech rarely seems to refer to much outside of the creation of new websites.

But does it matter? Are we at the end of one sort of change and in the midst of another? Poverty, disease and environmental destruction would suggest otherwise. Given how much radical change is needed perhaps there isn't anywhere near enough of it.