NOB HILL--Call me dense. I made a prediction about 25 years ago that all of us would become brain surgeons. We could operate on our friends--slicing through tissue and foam, deftly tying off thousands of nerve endings, and understanding what we were doing after only a few minutes at the computer.
Or we might all be designing solar heating systems configured exactly to the lot and orientation of our own house. Hundreds of connections and miles of wire and pipe would have to be ordered--and we would do it without worrying about the "how-to's". We would know it all.
Purple, Maybe Green
How? We would have an input-output port in the back of our head. Maybe sort of like a USB port. We would plug in, look up whatever we needed to know, and have the knowledge transferred to our brains via an ultra-high-speed connecting wire. All this knowledge would be colored a light purple or maybe green in our thoughts so that we would know where we got it and wouldn't mistake it for experiential knowledge. Thus we could tell it was computer generated data, and not part of our personal history.
Well, it's come true. Only better. We don't need that USB port. And the knowledge comes with the "how-to's" illustrated with moving pictures and simultaneous explanations. Granted it isn't as quick as downloading a PhD in astrophysics with a 10 second burst of flashing magnetic smoke, but then it is easier to access and you can carry it around without permanently filling up your head with purple brain cabbage.
Loosen the Bolts
What is it? YouTube. That's right--YouTube. It occurred to me yesterday afternoon watching Ephraim Colbert build a bicycle in the patio. He was looking at his computer screen almost as much as he was looking at the bike parts. He was watching someone show him exactly how it all fit together, how to move his hands and hold onto the pieces, which tools to use, which side of the washers go next to the frame, and whether it was going to take a lot of strength to loosen the bolts. Wow.
Tijerina's Wife & My Son's Banjo
Well, call me dense. I've been putting things up on YouTube for the last six years. I guess I have never put up anything as useful as How To Build a Bicycle. My videos range from my son Ivan Knudsen playing the banjo to the former wife of Reies Lopez Tijerina describing what happened when police stormed into her house with their guns drawn. There's not a "how-to" video in the bunch.
Knives, Saws, & Spreaders
In any case, the future is now. I'm looking at those self-help brain videos. Just give me a surgical set of knives, saws, and spreaders and get out of the way! My brain surgeon career came a little late in life, but I've got a lot of enthusiasm for the work. I just need my MacBook Air and a head or two for a little practice. You, perchance, wouldn't have one you're not using, would you?