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I’m sitting in a hotel room in New Hampshire, on a business trip to spend a few days with my biggest client. I’ll spend the next few days making machines move, the aspect of software writing that I enjoy the most.
A few minutes ago, I received a message from a friend in Ghana. He’s a doctor, building a hospital clinic in a rural and underserved portion of the country. I asked him, a few days ago, what he needed most desperately. He tells me it’s reinforced steel bar and concrete. (I’ve watched him and his workers making their own bricks, baking mud in the sun. Apparently that doesn’t work for every aspect of construction.)
So I texted a note to a friend in Seattle who works for an engineering company, a company that has a charity program for assistance to underdeveloped countries and is looking for worthy causes. We’ll see what can be done.
Ghana to New Hampshire to Seattle, without leaving bed, all from a phone, all in real time.
I recently re-activated my Amazon Prime membership so that I could buy a bunch of electronic components — chips and stuff — for my work and get cheap shipping. Since I have Prime, I’m re-watching The Expanse (a series I never finished), which I consider to be the best science fiction television series ever made (since Star Trek TOS, he adds, more out of a sense of loyalty than conviction). That show succeeds more than any other I’ve seen at making the future seem mundane. I guess that’s what living in the future is like — taking technological miracles for granted.
For all the marvels of modernity, the elimination of global communication barriers must be among the most transformative. I just got a thank you note from that doctor in rural Ghana, including a picture of his wife and children — and an “I’ll look into it tomorrow” from that young engineer in Seattle. Shortly before midnight, from a hotel in New Hampshire, at no charge, on my phone.
The future is a screwed-up place, but it’s pretty amazing.Published in