"We wanted flying cars. Instead we got 140 characters." This quote was made famous by Founder's Fund VC Peter Theil.
We sci-fi folks are dreamers. Prognosticators. Fortune tellers. There are some in the SF community who feel like our era is over. Our dreamery future-fantasy stuff is just out of touch with the fast pace of technology today. Or our dreams are too inattainable to be real.
But here's the thing. Peter Theil is right, in a way. We don't have flying cars or bases on the moon or regular rocket rides to asteroids (though we did land a big 'ol rover on Mars. With Lasers!) A lot of the things we dream about in SF stories seem impossibly far off. Teleportation. Telekenisis. Teleanything that doesn't include 150 stations of Reality TV. Distant space travel. Contact with alien cultures.
But, really what's happened is that the future has caught up with us so fast that I think people just haven't noticed.
The cell phone camera is a disruptive technology, and most folks have one on them or are in the presence of someone who has one for the majority of their day.
My camera is a powerful force. I take pictures and digitally journal many of my days (I tried the 365 project - a picture each day. I fell off the wagon early, but I still find I take a photo more days than not.)
In addition to photo journaling and just recording life, we have the opportunity to catch moments and record them (my cell phone camera is also a powerful video camera) in high def video. From a baby's first steps to a blissful afternoon walk in a pretty park. This creates a bit of mania in us, I think, as we sometimes forget to just *enjoy* the moment, we're so busy photographing it.
But then it also gives us the opportunity to enjoy the pleasure of the "not so special" moments captured. For me, it helps me to slow down, to fully experience things that I might not have taken the time to notice before. Instead of creating hyperphotographyitis, it's almost like I've amped up my personal awareness of things I see.
What surprises me, though, is how little people pay attention to this. They just blithely go about their daily life taking snapshots of recipes and zinging them across the internets, videotaping democracy rallies in other countries, photographing new species of wildlife and otherwise slowly, (or is it so rapidly we can't even see the movement such that we think it's standing still?) changing the world.
In my own life I've found myself using my camera on my phone for all sorts of things beyond the general activities of a mom trying desperately to capture moments of her kids childhood before they slip through her fingers.
I videotaped my son's hands shaking so we could discuss it with our doctor. I've taken pictures every year or so of the birthmark on my daughter's back so we can see that it is gradually fading. I've photographed receipts to store a copy of them when dining out. I've videotaped a musical group in Ireland including an elbow pipe player. I've sent photos to family members so they can stay current with the kids' development. I've photographed food, flowers, the sandhill cranes that reside nearby part of the year, plants in my yard that I'm not 100% sure aren't weeds.
I've used photos to document the kids' orthodontia progress. I've sent photos to my husband at work to alert him of something going on at home (often hilarious, like the dogs passed out in yin/yang position with their noses in each others...nether quarters, but also to show a repair project we'll need his help with when he comes home.) And he's used photos to share parts of his travels with the kids, or to show us something funny he has seen. We use this powerful technology to stay close, and get closer.
How about you? Do you use that disruptive technology that's in your pocket? What's the most unusual (SAFE for kids/work/families please!) thing you've photographed or the most unusual thing that's happened as a result of interacting with other people's photographs?
Image gallery - click on a thumbnail to see the image. First is my first attempt at home canning. A good girlfriend texted me a page from her canning cookbook when I panicked midway through. The second is Liam's painting from summer art camp midway through. The third is the site that inspired the painting.