Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Good YBSF News!

In a gesture of extreme coolness, Gardner Dozois has included my story from Interzone 219 in the "Honorable Mentions" list in his Year's Best Science Fiction anthology. I would have thought that at my age there would be nothing that could make me incoherent with glee. I was wrong.

If you are curious, an e-version of the Interzone in question can be purchased for $5 from Fictionwise.com:

Monday, July 27, 2009

5 workplace skills for a different future...

Reading the Institute for the Future's blog on workplace skills of the future, http://www.iftf.org/node/2774, I had a hard time swallowing words like "Emergensight," "Influency," and "Longbroading." I offer here my somewhat more dystopian view of what will be required of us in the future workplace...

1. Sociagiene. With the development of superbugs and pandemics, any area (such as the office) where multiple people come into contact must be entered and exploited with a great deal of care. The way that we as workers deal with public hygiene -- and the social consequences of that -- will have an growing impact on our business lives.

2. Chafftrol. As an increasingly vast number of communication channels dilute one's ability to trap pertinent messages, a lot of time is going to be spent trying to separate wheat from chaff. This will become increasingly difficult as only a single interface -- the browser -- is becoming the preferred medium for personal and professional communication, PR, marketing, shopping, discussion, and entertainment. If you add to this the tendency of social networks to over-react to any stimulus and explode into massive chaff generators, the wheat will become increasingly hard to find.

3. Consterm. As the availability of energy and water continues to shrink, any decision about how, when, and where to work will be increasingly determined by the balance of these scarce resources. Overhead costs reflected in heating and plumbing are likely to rise, and contract terms and performance targets will start to include consumables.

4. Langfusion. As work becomes increasingly cross-cultural and international, it will become critical to understand other people's English, either as spoken or as poorly rendered by a free translation service. The world is evolving to a point where most speakers of English will be non-native, taught by other non-natives. This is particularly important since Americans cannot in general communicate in a foreign language, and often in English either.

5. Panrentomy. Moves by any organization that creates anything (from movies, songs, and books to computers, cars, and housing) to turn their product that you purchase into a service that you rent will fundamentally change the way you live and work. In a few short years, the only thing that you purchase that you will actually own and have the right to consume as you wish will be the food you eat. Be prepared to deal with copyright statutes that control how you use document templates, computer hardware, office facilities, and kitchen appliances.