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Is technology stranger than fiction?

Thursday April 22 2021
By Innocent Swai

The changes that replaced landlines with pocket gadgets were neither obvious nor a foregone conclusion in the 1990s. In those days, most leading technologists were quick to reference how the films Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey had inspired them. Recently, I’ve developed interest in fiction. According to Walter Benjamin, all great works of literature either dissolve a genre or invent one. Most technologists and fiction writers alike are known futurists.

There has been an unofficially artistic movement which organic unstated one formed few decades ago. Its key components are deliberate ‘un-artiness.’ Its ‘raw materials’ are uncensored, unfiltered, unprocessed and unprofessional. In other words, people are secretively chasing happy accidents and serendipity, spontaneity, randomness, viewer or reader participation, artistic risk, emotional urgency and lastly intensity.

‘Edutainment’ comes with the help of emerging technologies on one side and fiction on the other. In reality fiction isn’t easily understood in the virtual reality which is taking over the world. What has been more influential in Africa than Diamond Platnumz’s music content? I am not talking about substance. History doesn’t make something right. I needn’t say anything but rather trying to show what makes sense.

The most common Latin terminology for the ‘essay’ was ‘experior,’ which implied ‘to try, test, experiment, experience.’

Moreover, the fiction as technology came from another Latin word ‘fingere,’ which means ‘to shape, fashion, form, or mold.’ In other words, what Diamond Platnumz is doing has to do with fashioning and shaping of cool events. The only problem with his content as said earlier is substance. The late Bob Marley (1945-81) and few artists learned the art of capturing substance in their lyrics.

Take note of the way most technologists are becoming fiction writers. They have simplified the known problems of writing about future technologies that will (or won’t) be in use in one’s imagined future. Moreover, much is known about the influence of science fiction on eventual science facts. Although content curators create fanciful worlds, many of their tech fictions have shaped the actual technologies we end up seeing later. Today, best fiction is being written as nonfiction. It’s not a mystery anymore. The most compelling creative energies seem to be directed at nonfiction.

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The big tech companies are making use of emerging technologies to go against what business gurus have always preached for decades: focusing on what is basically their “core competencies” while at the same time outsourcing everything else. Most of these tech brands have already flip flopped that idea. For example, Amazon - which is an ‘everything store’ - has never outsourced its data centre. However, it has managed to take advantage of its massive data centre volume to beat all other companies with core competencies in technology and software.

Amazon’s ability to invest unlimited capital in building the best data centre management competency all over the world, has made knock down the capabilities of Google and Microsoft brands when combined together. Hence, qualifying itself to sell “none,-core competency” service to other companies. Interestingly, that is how Amazon Web Services - the largest cloud services provider - was born.

On the other hand, Amazon pays attention to its rivals, but more obsessed over customers. However, when it comes to shrewdness Amazon doesn’t play by customer rules. For example, no customer wants to be dependent on a provider that sells them the tools for competency and technology on one end and competes with the same capacity on the other. That is actually Amazon at its best. The brand competes with most of its cloud customers. Go figure!