In his book Fearless Genius the photographer Doug Menuez has produced a photographic essay on the “digital revolution” that was taking place in Silicon Valley, the area of California some 50 miles south of San Francisco that is home to some of the worlds most successful technology companies, during the period 1985 to 2000.
You can see a review of this book in my other blog here. Whilst the book covers a number of technology companies that were re-shaping the world during that tumultuous period it focuses pretty heavily on Steve Jobs during the time he had been forced out of Apple and was trying to build his Next Computer.
In this video Doug Menuez discusses his photo journalism work during the period that the book documents and at the end poses these three, powerful questions:
- Computers will gain consciousness, shouldn’t we be having a public dialogue about that?
- On education – who will be the next Steve Jobs, and where will she come from?
- Why are all investments today so short term?
All of which are summed up in the following wonderful quote:
If anything in the future is possible, how do we create the best possible future?
Here in the UK we are about to have an election and choose our leader(s) for the next five years. I find it worrying that there has been practically no debate on the impact that technology is likely to have during this time and how, as citizens of this country, we can get involved in trying to “create the best possible future”.
Last month Baroness Martha Lane Fox gave the Richard Dimbleby Lecture called Dot Everyone – Power the Internet and You which, in a similar way to what Doug Menuez is doing in the US, was a call to arms for all of us to become more involved in our digital future. As Ms. Lane-Fox says:
We’re still wasting colossal fortunes on bad processes and bad technologies. In a digital world, it is perfectly possible to have good public services, keep investing in frontline staff and spend a lot less money. Saving money from the cold world of paper and administration and investing more in the warm hands of doctors, nurses and teachers.
I urge everyone to take a look at both Doug and Martha’s inspirational talks and, if you are here in the UK, to go to change.org and sign the petition to “create a new institution and make Britain brilliant at the internet” and ensure we here in the UK have a crack at developing our own fearless genius like Steve Jobs, wherever she may now be living.
Please note that all images in this post, apart from the last one, are (c) Doug Menuez and used with permission of the photographer.