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Start Thinking Globally in Technology

My next-door neighbor rides into work with me almost every morning. And almost every morning, he has an interesting story to tell. His stories aren’t necessarily interesting because of the premise or delivery, but because he is from Serbia and most of the time, there are very thought-provoking ties (or contrasts) to American culture which get me thinking about the growing closeness of people around the world.

This morning we had a technology discussion. He told me about how he just spent $100 on Logitech’s new computer clip-on camera so he can video conference with his relatives back home, and $40 on a subscription to a Serbian Internet service which allows him to view all of the cable TV stations from Serbia on his computer. So for the cost of his monthly Verizon FiOS service, the Serbian web service, and the initial investment for the equipment, he is able to stay in touch with a country almost half-way around the planet in virtual real-time.

Technology is probably the primary reason for the growing ease of globalization. But since this isn’t a global affairs class, I’ll skip to the technology stuff…

Sooner than you think, our TVs, computers, and telephones will merge into a single piece of hardware. And the market will be flooded with gizmos to make sure they all work in synch and tie other appliances and even entire homes and buildings together – which in turn will bring most of the Earth’s population in almost incomprehensible synchronization. This is undoubtedly the near-future, so start planning and gearing your learning, as designers, towards world-wide exposure, and be sure not to box yourself into the American/Japanese cage of technology leaders. You must appeal to everyone across the globe and break out of any ethnocentric tendencies of which you may or may not be aware. You have an advantage being at GMU though – I believe this is one of, if not THE, most culturally diverse school in the country.

…on the other hand, there is something to be said about buying a little home on the Mexican coast and selling sea shells for a living. Different strokes i suppose…