Culture shock, future shock, aftershock


We just saw an aftershock in Japan at magnitude 7.0. In and of itself, it’s a major earthquake. But, since it had been preceded by the big one (9.0), it is pale in comparison.

As to culture shock, a man from the Amazon who got transported to Seattle, WA will only hear one thing in common: Amazon.com.
The rest like Starbucks, Microsoft etc… seems strange to him. Off the bet, he needs winter wear to survive.

Like Austin Powers who needs to adjust expectations, majorly, upon stepping out of deep freeze.

Things are partitioned with biometric passwords and cumbersome authentication process (unlike the Woodstock fence which got pushed down and stayed down for the duration of the three-day concert). No room on the VW van or Love bus for Luddites.

Welcome to our digital future, where everything is mobile and online.

Austin cannot use his traditional charm to pry for information.

In other words, his spy craft needs serious brush-ups.

(incidentally, dentistry has advanced quite nicely since his time).

He will hardly get any service or human interaction: at the gym (finger print pad, more sophisticated than Austin’s spy school,) on the phone with “customer service” (speech recognition and voice activation before you get a live operator, from call center far way, whose accent Austin incidentally can ID, but may be doubtful if he had mis-dialed the country code).

Even kids check text messages while talking to parents. The Dad still checks out stock quotes while his wife nags that dinner was ready.

Yet one deadline remains the same: April 15th. As sure as death, tax time is due time for everyone. Government might get shut down, so pay up.

The future is now. But it comes not without a few shocks of its own.

Meanwhile, ROW (rest of world) is playing catch up. Emerging countries all try to export their stuff to the Walmart near you. Pretty soon, we are surrounded by Dollar stores, where everything is priced at one dollar, inflation-adjusted.

BTW, when our Austin Powers runs into our Amazon man in Seattle, they can agree on one thing: we need to take care of Mother Nature, because these aftershocks are not funny. Quite inconvenient indeed. Whether you are a primitive man or a hit man, you know that when the bell tolls for thee, it’s also for me. Culture shock, I can adapt. Future shock, I can embrace. But aftershock, …. it keeps me up at night. Just check with Fukushima and Sandy refugees in the shelters. They can tell you, it may take years, not months, before they can return to “normal”. I can empathize, having absorbed all three shocks myself.

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