Monthly Archives: April 2017

I’ll Be Back

You know how sometimes you think of an old song and then suddenly you start hearing it everywhere? In a taxi. At CVS. In a TV commercial? No? One of my sons is a redhead and, rare as they are purported to be, I see them everywhere I go. I swear. All the time. Then I have a friend who claims that she always notices when it is 11:11 o’clock no matter where she goes. Am I making any sense?

Let me back up a little. Last year I decided to go back to school for a Masters Degree in Education Technology K-12.  The “why” is a much longer story, but for the purposes of this post, suffice it to say that I was proud and excited to be accepted into the Ed Tech program at Teachers College, Columbia University. For obvious reasons, I expected my courses would be very, well, technical!

Au contraire!

There are moments when I believe I can actually feel my brain stretching (because it hurts) as TC’s brilliant professors and guest lecturers cover topics spanning from ethics to empathy; innovation to inquiry… It will take years for all of this information to filter through the lumpy charcoal of my brain. Nevertheless,  over the course of the year, two central themes keep insistently returning; “Design Thinking” and “A.I.”

What’s odd is how those themes pop up when I’m NOT at school. And often. Out of nowhere, the Director of my school emailed me this article the other day: What Is Design Thinking. And A friend posted a link to this article on his Facebook page (he’s a jazz guitarist)  A.I. In the Fintech (I had no idea what fintech meant!), and then THIS and THIS popped up somewhere…

Then I’m watching Trevor Noah and he starts talking about A.I., Russia and their Terminator robots… Ugh!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just this past Sunday, at an Easter-Egg hunt in Southport, CT, the college-age son of our host (friend of our friends) served my husband and me a mimosa. He was a tall, preppy, yacht-club hunk straight out of central casting. However, once I asked him what he was studying in college, he informed us that he is studying mechanical engineering at Villa Nova. One hour later… We were still talking about… Design Thinking and A.I.

After showing us the extraordinary drone he built from scratch to solve a particular problem (my boys were agog and I was on my third mimosa, so I can’t remember the problem!), he went on to explain how A.I. would one day be able to conceive of thousands of designs for prototypes that humans couldn’t event imagine. He addressed my boys saying, “it’s good that you’re leaning so much coding, you’ll be well ahead of me. That is, at least until A.I. takes over.” My eyes bulged and another conversation began about responsible and ethical A.I. design and development.

Then he asked me, “have you ever seen “The Terminator?” I probably blushed, embarrassed to admit, even  to myself, that I can practically recite the entire first film by heart. Then he started talking about Blade Runner and I thought I might faint.

Is it just that “Design Thinking” and A.I. are the buzz words of “now?” Perhaps.

When in doubt, google it out.

I googled the words “why do I keep seeing…” The first response  was the following article about seeing 11:11 everywhere;”Spiritual Guidance.” How weird! My first reaction was, “Absurd.” Then I wondered, “Is Google trying to tell me something? Is this A.I. in action? Has it begun.”

Just kidding.

Or am I? Skynet?

3 keys to unlocking our intelligent future

 

 

Need Space from Cyberspace

I need space. Three words you never want to hear in a relationship.

That is how I am feeling with the internet, email and social media. Technology. Relationships of all sorts are about balance. Prioritizing. How do you maintain balance and keep technology from running amuck and taking over your life? No, really. That is a question.

I use technology daily for work. The expectation that I be super-glued to my phone, email, camera, social media and computer is implicit yet real. I couldn’t do my job without technology. In fact, I wouldn’t have a job in communications without it! At least eight hours of my day are spent on my three computers, one Apple and one PC and a MacBookPro and on my two cell phones, one Android and one iPhone. That’s a whole lot of screen-time.

As a musician, I use social media and technology to promote my songs and connect with my audience. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, YouTube… and more! On average, I would guess that I spend at least an hour a day just updating various social media.

Today I updated my YouTube channel/playlist and graphics. I still need to do more work on the individual tags for each video. It’s a lot of work.

It Often, like today, I use Photoshop to create new graphics, banners and icons to upload to the different websites and social media I use to get my music and message out there. As I think about it, I am genuinely surprised at how much time and effort it takes to stay current. Last week I devoted my attention to becoming a verified Spotify artist and updating my page graphics once the goal was achieved!

Every other month or so I create a new music video in iMovie. Even the simplest video takes me a whole evening to complete. As for social media, researching interesting post content – even though I program it a week ahead – takes nearly a full work-day!

Being an independent artist is a very time-consuming job.

Without realizing it an hour or two or five has gone by without speaking to a person or connecting with anything other than my keyboard and monitor. None of this activity includes writing songs, practicing music or performing and connecting with people.

Then there’s the “personal” social media. I don’t typically do a lot of posting, but should I really be doing ANY given the amount of time I already spend on a device, online?

During my “down” time  is when I really notice the malaise. I’m supposed to be a relating to my family and friends. I don’t bring my device to the dinner table (house rule), but I can’t say that I feel 100% present, regardless. Ever. I swear I can feel my iPhone vibrating, humming away on the credenza, calling to me to check email. Check Facebook. Post a photo on Instagram.

Rinse and repeat.

Let’s face it. Social media is designed to be habit-forming. Design-thinking perhaps well-intended and gone awry? I read that people suffering from depression check their email more often than most (gulp, I check mine a lot). So is this technology solving a problem or reinforcing one? So how do we break a bad habit? One day a time.

I am passionately grateful for the existence of social media and technology. Always and forever in awe of the design-thinkers who knew what we wanted (when we didn’t) and thought of how to solve our problems and create brilliant solutions.

It’s me. Not you. I need some space.