Thursday, August 26, 2010

“2010: A Earth Odyssey”

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film directed by Stanley Kubrick and written by Arthur C. Clarke. The film deals with thematic elements of human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life, and is notable for its scientific realism, pioneering special effects, ambiguous imagery that is open-ended to a point approaching surrealism, sound in place of traditional narrative techniques, and minimal use of dialogue.

Yesterday, we moved my oldest son into his new college dorm room. Had I been better prepared, I could have videotaped the day’s events and released it under the title: “2010: A Earth Odyssey”.

The first noticeable thing was that every single person on the campus was totally connected. And I mean EVERYONE was wireless. I am not just talking about iPhones and iPads. 50% of the people had on Bluetooth headsets, and were talking to “someone” while carrying boxes and bins like ants at a picnic. The college library looked like a cross between Starbucks and a NASA mission control room. The kids are now carrying Kindles and tablet PCs, and hardly any paper books. The average student has a desktop, laptop and a Smartphone, so computers outnumber students almost three to one.

As part of student orientation, it was “mandatory” for students to register their cell phones with the campus security, as text messaging is the primary way that students will be alerted in an emergency. For the less than 1% of students who might not have a cell phone, one will be provided and added to your “Q card” account, which is the new form of electronic currency. No need to carry cash, ever. Paper money is so passé.

When I went to college, an overhead projector and a Texas Instrument calculator was considered to be cutting-edge technology. Today, lectures are sent out via Podcasts, “immersive” high definition videoconferencing with global professors is considered the norm, and the need to take down hand written notes is antiquated at best. No matter what your field of study, technology is everywhere. The genie has been let out of the bottle a long time ago.

The college graduates of today are the leaders of tomorrow. We might not have flying cars, but we certainly have come a long way from slide rules and three ring binders. My most significant epiphany of the day (besides the fact that college is freaking expensive): You better learn how to play nice with technology (and play nice with those who have mastered technology) because it is not going away anytime soon.

Despite initially receiving mixed reviews, 2001: A Space Odyssey is today recognized by many critics and audiences as one of the greatest films ever made. In 1991, it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. I highly recommend that you go online with Netflix, and rent a copy. Or go to your local “Red Box” and pick it up on DVD for $1. But wait – can you not just watch it on Hulu these days - for free?

If all else fails, grab your video camera and head to your nearest college campus.


  1. This cracked me up and I can so relate because my son is in Maryville College and I totally feel the same way. I loved the part about the library looking like Nasa and Starbucks TOO FUNNY!

  2. Food for thought as we dinosaurs watch the next gen survive with no e-mail; let their voice mail boxes fill up without a hint of guilt…