Monday, January 23, 2006

More About Geek TV

Your stereotypical geeks love science fiction. Like, we just screened the entire Matrix series again, in our home theater this week (I only watched sporadically, having seen it recently -- to Tara it was mostly new).

The fictive tapestry we create as a background to reality, the stuff of day dreams and amusements, is often identified as "escapist" in nature, and certainly I have nothing against projecting into a completely different solar system (e.g. Serenity) or universe (e.g. Narnia).

However my dad, Dr. Jack Urner, was an urban and regional planner (University of Washington, Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago), subscribed to The Futurist, so as a kid, I absorbed the view that humans could actually dream new stuff into existence.

I watched the whole Apollo thing from Rome (EUR and later Viale Parioli), our base while dad worked with Libyan counterparts on mapping and zoning (he worked with several Islamic countries during his long career, plus the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan).

When I started reading Fuller's enlightened futurism in earnest, back in the early 1980s, the Cold War was still in high gear. KAL 007 was shot down. Some nights on the TV news it seemed like the CIA and KGB had a monopoly on world affairs, and were using Central America as their proxy. Russian submarines were parked just off the USA coast, ready to launch if need be.

So how was a geek futurist like me to get any traction in this crazy, cold world? Fuller had a suggestion, embedded throughout his books: focus on the world energy grid concept. He had a lot of other good ideas too. So I wasn't without tools. Perhaps the situation wasn't as hopeless as it seemed.

Now, over 20 years later, I'm looking back on a lot of accomplishments. A lot of leg work has been done. My personal workspace edit/recombine studio (a GST concept) is evident in such products as Intel's viiv. Reality TV as a genre has been established around the game show concept, permitting an easy transition to World Game when the stars feel ready. And the world power grid is coming along nicely, with Iraq slated to get more kilowatts from Iran, once we've brought those power plants on-line (so, where shall we put that SeaWorld?).

What's true is a lot of people have been working on the design science agenda (no need to always call it that). I'm one player among many (a strong one, but powerless in isolation). Nowadays, I'm looking forward to scripting more reality TV (4D Studios work), producing commercials (e.g. for Global Data), and recruiting talented faculty to a bizmo-based lifestyle (cybervans, cram packed with educational programming and equipment).

I'm planning to stay Portland-based. I really don't mind all the rain.