There are times when Tucson really surprises me. I had no idea of the unique ways creativity and innovation are being nurtured in this city. Recently I attended a very interesting program sponsored by CASA (Contemporary Artists of Southern Arizona). Tony Ford, a futurist with a passion for the arts and technology, gave us an exciting overview of the future from his perspective and the ways Tucsonians are embracing it.
It was both a “nudge” to take notice of how things are rapidly changing and an invitation to climb aboard. For instance he cited that there are currently about 5 billion cel phones in operation all over the world. One billion of these are smart phones BUT he points out that in five years there will be five billion smart phones in use. That means there will be five billion people around the world that can interact with each other; learn from each other, impact each other. This amazing pocket instrument gives us immediate access to the whole world whenever we want it and wherever we are! It unlimits our access to Planet Earth. This has amazing implications for all aspects of our life as we know it today.
It leads one to wonder about how quickly some of our most treasured institutions will be come antiquated! Take education. Will we continue to need brick and mortar buildings when we can take on-line classes offered by institutions all over the world? The smart phone is our ticket to unlimited self-directed education? To what extent will we need to books, cd’s and dvds when all we need to do is power up our phone.
Tony talked about other provocative trends. For instance he suggested that most people under the age of thirty have spent 10,000 hours playing video games. The way they applaud others is in “game” mode with “likes” and “accumulating points”. Look at Facebook, Twitter, etc. and you realize the future is now. We click to clap, and we abbreviate whenever possible. (LOL), and we do it instantly from wherever we happen to be. Are we loosing our ability to relate face to face!!
Tony pointed out that many young people can not find jobs using their skills and training. When they are not working minimum wage jobs they are using technology to explore and develop future opportunity and income generation.
I urge you to explore what Tony and his associates are up to. He is a principal in an on-line artisan marketplace – “Art Fire”. www.artfire.com You’ll see it is a platform for personal selling and promotion.
Tony is also deeply involved in Maker House www.makerhouse.org – a new collaborative artisan, maker, education, tech, and gathering space that recently opened in the Downtown Tucson Arts District Tech Corridor.
It is located at 283 North Stone. This area of our city is becoming a mecca for artists, scientists, innovators and creative thinkers to gather.
All sorts of things happen at Maker House. You might find yoga and martial arts classes in the 5,000 square foot courtyard, latte art and hand brewing coffee classes in a classroom sized coffee bar, classes and training in 3D printing* and design, and dance classes in the mural room. What’s so unique is the intersection of disciplines. For instance a recent class “Knit to Death” provided instruction in knitting, as well as using knitting needles for self defense.! A Saturday “think-tank” focused on how one might launch eggs! This is definitely a place to keep checking out as the possibilities for interesting things happening here is endless!!
* If you don’t know about 3 D printing do a search for it today. You will be astounded. It make make factories obsolete. You won’t have to go to the store to buy something. You’ll just create it at home with your 3-d printer.
Wikipedia has an interesting article that gives a good overview of what this new technology is all about.