Thursday, October 9, 2008

Future Shock

Sometimes the future sneaks up behind you and pokes you in the back.

I just read that they have a working, operational computer network
protected by quantum cryptography:

I knew the theory of quantum cryptography, but as far as I knew it was
just theoretical, the kind of thing that might happen in ten or twenty

There are a lot of things that, as far as I know, are ten years in the
future. But now that I stop to think of it, most of my in-depth
technical and engineering knowledge was obtained between ten and four
years ago. So over the next few years, there will be an increasing
number of things that show up in reality that my mind had placed
firmly in the category of 'future'.

I think that future shock is worse for people like me with some
technical knowledge. If you didn't know about quantum cryptography,
your reaction to this news would range from 'Who cares?' to 'Hey look,
the smart guys came up with another clever thing.' But if you had
read about the topic years ago, you would have some idea of how much
work and effort and knowledge went into it, and how incredible it is
that we have it.

Things seem a lot more amazing when you are accustomed to reading
about them in the future tense.

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