I am as ever indebted to my good friend Chris Cheek who recently wrote an excellent blog that I have to say captured my imagination. He is an educated and cultured man and I have always enjoyed reading his blogs and reports, and this one was particularly revealing and educational. In this report he brought to my attention a gentleman called Buckminster Fuller, not only the owner of an excellent name that at first I thought was some sort of newly crafted fine ale, but more importantly a futurologist and inventor.
I had never heard of Bucky before so i did the decent thing and went straight onto Wikipedia where i read about this fascinating man’s life and times. He did an awful lot of interesting things in his 88 years on this earth, and clearly was a free spirit of both intelligence and vision, expelled from Harvard twice he had a damascus experience when he was contemplating suicide after the death of his 4 year old daughter. That affected his way of thinking about life and the universe. However, what really marked him out was his role as a futurologist.
Now I do not know about you but I had not heard of such a person before so yet again a quick google and there I was, enlightened: “a person whose occupation or speciality is the forecasting of future events, conditions or developments.” I am not really sure how you become a futurologist but I like the sound of it, I also really liked what Bucky had to say about the pace of change, and what he called the “knowledge doubling curve.” This works on the following assumption, namely that taking the year 1 AD as being worth one unit of knowledge, the sum of human knowledge has doubled by the year 1500. It doubled again by 1750, and again by 1900. By the end of world war 2 it was doubling every 25 years, with the speed of knowledge accelerating rapidly.
Contemporary estimates put the rate in 1981 as doubling every two or three years and current estimates claim the figure is every 13 months, and here is the killer statistic IBM now claim that this will rocket to every 11 hours once the ‘internet of things” kicks in good and proper. It is almost hard to imagine that it took from 1 AD to 1500 for human knowledge to double and yet here in 2018 it doubles every 11 hours. Incredible really but when you step back and ponder it, but it is true. The pace of innovation is staggering, I have witnessed it myself with what has happened with uTrack and the Bus and Coach Industry,
It is almost incomprehensible when I think back to my training days as a National Bus Company Senior Management Trainee, back in West Yorkshire Road car, the training process was quite literally Dickensian. At one stage I spent two months in the scheduling department in Harrogate, it was a large room with 12 desks facing the big desk occupied by the man who run the show. The 12 young men (no women back then of course, a woman as a Scheduler, God forbid!). We all had huge sheets of graph paper and were supposedly being trained in the art of efficient scheduling which requires what seemed to me quantum mathematics to work out.
From day one I was clueless, no one showed me what to do, Mike did not want me there and I did not want to be there, at exactly 1030, everyone stopped and had a 15 minute break, the same at 1230 for 30 minutes then 3 30 for 15. When working no one spoke as you were not allowed too. This was purgatory for me I learned nothing, I did nothing and was a complete waste of time. Today schedules are computerised, and as a skllfull art form which indeed it is, it is almost lost. I was tempted on my last day of being under Mike’s tuteledge to walk up with a bowl and ask please Sir, can I have some more, in the classic style of Oliver Twist, indeed the only thing missing was an ink well and a quill pen.
So, there we have it my scheduling experience was essentially ensuring that the speed of learning was trapped in a time warp, where as the rapid advances in cloud based technology being created on an almost daily basis at uTrack are hurtling the bus and coach industry into a whole brave new world. Which the industry is starting to embrace, which to me is a good and positive thing.