Riper Years

Twenty-six plus seven is thirty-three, so this is my last chronicle for 2015. It’s been a good year so far. Life can change in a heartbeat, and particularly in a lack of one, so let’s be prudent.

Above all, this year heralds the start of a new age, which I shall christen the Cyberzoic Era.

I toyed with one or two others: Cyberlithic. Or Cybercene, following on from the Holocene—but actually there’s not much sense to either of those.

The lithic job would suggest a computer or network (cyber) stone—which might be okay, interpreted as computers forming the cornerstone of society. Or the keystone. Rosetta Stone.

But zoic did it for me. Cyberzoic. Computer Life—Computer Animal Life, if you fancy an attack of end-of-year pedantry.

I love it. ©yberzoic. Begins on January 1st 2016, or 07E0 in hex(adecimal). Anyone can start a New Age—so I just did.

You see, an age starts when you want it to start. A bunch of archaeologists decided the Neolithic started in 10,200 BC, near as dammit—since we don’t really know, we write c. 10,200 BC, and all is well. So we can be equally cunning and write c. 2016, which could mean 2010-2020. Good enough for government work.

Has the term cyberzoic been used previously? Not in this way, at least according to the internet. There is a jewelry store, though I don’t see how the name relates to the products, and some guy wrote a poem called ‘In the Cyberzoic.’ Not a stunning piece of verse, in my humble opinion, but to each his own.

Now we’ve covered What and When, it’s time to discuss the real meat of the matter—Why.

As soon as you think about this new age, the why is obvious. But let’s have a go anyhow.

We’ll split into two groups. Group A is under twenty years old. If you’re in that group, this text is probably longer than you might want to read, since you grew up with bites. Soundbites. Videobites. Textbites. Actually you grew up with bytes, so you completely get it.

The fusion between technology and you is not embedded, i.e. you don’t have an implant (yet), but the psychological dependency is total. Forgetting your cellphone is akin to walking out the door without your trousers.

Yes, this could be you. If not now, then sometime in the Cyberzoic.

Yes, this could be you. If not now, then sometime in the Cyberzoic.

Just think: your next piercing could be a cyberstud, and your next tattoo could be a printed circuit implant.

If on the other hand you belong to group B, then roll back a couple of decades, or even a little more if you can. Think 1980’s, and you’re in the zone. Contrast that with what you see (and do) now.

Cellphones as a natural extension of the hand, bluetooth as an add-in to the ear. Wearables used as time pieces, heart monitors, step counters.

Maps replaced by phones.

TV has become the internet.

Distributed computing means your proximity is with a sensor, not necessarily with the information source—the app that tells you how far you hiked is triangulating your travel from a satellite link.

Your need for data is huge.  But the mothership is greedier still. It knows how fast I write. About what. It can monitor my typos—it can tell whether I don’t know how to type or don’t know how to spell—or both.

You might use typing errors as a mood sensor. Bad hair day.

And the mothership harvests us all, at the same time. It does what we can’t do. It converts data into information. It sees the big picture, the trees and the forest.

You take pictures. Digitally, my cyberzoic friend. The cloud sits allegorically above us. You see it as cirrus, wisps of friendly white vapor that help you manage your daily matters, and make your sky bluer. Music. Video. Facebook. Whatsapp.

In fact you sit below a towering storm cloud of cumulonimbus—a quasi-sentient being that is forever registering you. Where, what, how, when, and why. The Big Five.

You are now part of that universe, and you contribute to it every day in every way. We humans are no good at keeping secrets, but machines are.

Our life has become one big app, occasionally interrupted by mundane activities like sex and food.

There are a few things machines can’t do. They can’t write software, just as we can’t see inside your brain. They can’t write poetry. Well… one of them wrote this.

A home transformed by the lightning
the balanced alcoves smother
this insatiable earth of a planet, Earth.
They attacked it with mechanical horns
because they love you, love, in fire and wind.
You say, what is the time waiting for in its spring?
I tell you it is waiting for your branch that flows,
because you are a sweet-smelling diamond architecture
that does not know why it grows.

It got accepted by the Duke literary journal, called The Archive. Probably due to networking, because it’s a load of old bollocks.

They can’t make wine. And they can’t write this. But apart from that…

Welcome to the Cyberzoic Age, Earthling.

Atmos Fear and The India Road. Quick links for smartphones and tablets.

Atmos Fear and The India Road. Quick links for smartphones and tablets.

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