What happened in the Aughts? Technology and Culture 2.0 - Macleans.ca

What happened in the Aughts? Technology and Culture 2.0


Over at the Ottawa Citizen, our opinions page deputy editor David Watson has put together a series looking back at the Aughts, asking various writers  to “assess human progress in a variety of fields over the last 10 years: economics, science and technology, culture, poverty alleviation, nuclear disarmament and more.”

The first installment was “The Future Disappoints,” from Robert Sawyer. It’s a fun piece in the “where’s my moving sidewalk and jetpack?” genre, looking at how scientific progress stalled over the last decade. My contribution is in today’s paper, it’s about Web 2.0 and the democratization of culture. Not sure what Dave has lined up next, but I’m looking forward to it.

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What happened in the Aughts? Technology and Culture 2.0

  1. I agreed with your article Potter so I don't have much to say about it but Robert Sawyer's was different kettle of fish.

    I don't know what made it a "fun piece", I would have described it as an 'asinine piece by a technocrat'. It is hard to take Sawyer seriously after he claims that it is Bush's fault that nanotechnology, stem cell research and space exploration did not live up to his expectations.

    Sawyer seems to want government involved in all science work and if he actually took a moment and looked at what government/science programs have managed to invent over the past fifty years he would know they are not very effective at creating anything new.

    And I am willing to bet next month's mortgage payment that Sawyer would go absolutely bonkers if we started to apply what scientists know to social/welfare policies. Many lefties like to crack wise about people on the right and their hatred of science but they also think that evolution/natural selection should not apply to social issues. They argue that it is wonderful theory but it's not applicable when discussing human behaviour because we are all tabla rasa.

    But may fav part is when Sawyer writes "stem-cell research really does hold the key to curing diseases, regenerating organs, and prolonging life" and then gives others hard time for undermining peoples faith in science with outlandish claims.

  2. Based upon Sawyer's piece, and a short blog by AC on the stockmarket (Lost decade) maybe it should be called the "Naughts". http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/12/02/lost-decade/

    As in when Jethro Bodine, boy jeenius of Beverly Hillbillies would do some cypeherin', adding up columns of numbers: "Naught. Naught. Carry the naught…"

    • There was a lot in the past decade that Aught Naught to have been done.

  3. Potter I was just reading Michael Gove in The Times and he writes:

    "Given the class war is raging so fiercely, some combatants are trying to camouflage themselves, others are trying to avoid fire by wearing enemy uniforms. But there is one infallible giveaway I've observed. The über-posh never wear white shirts. Only cream. Can anyone tell me why this is so?"

    I have no purpose in telling you this. Just seemed like something you would write/post about. I always read Gove's column and wonder if we have similarly erudite MPs here in Canada. Gove's column is also good model for politician to do blog without too much controversy.

    • That's great. I wonder if the reason is this: having a very white shirt is a way of signalling that your clothes are freshly washed or brand new. But who needs to signal that? Only someone with status anxiety, i.e., the middle and upper-mids. The uber-posh have no status anxiety; in fact, it is a sign of their status that they don't need to show off how new or clean their clothes are. Hence, cream-coloured shirts.

  4. Price of dna sequencing has been falling rapidly this decade. Soon personalized medicine will pick up.