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Monday’s New York Times featured an article titled, “Google Wants to Join the Party, Not Crash It.” Beginning with an anecdote about using your smartphone to look up the answer to solve a dinnertime debate (which is apparently considered socially acceptable now), it went on to discuss how Google, Microsoft and other technology companies are searching for “new, less intrusive ways to join the party — as varied as voice search, Internet-connected glasses and other wearable computers, or dining room tables outfitted with screens.”

According to the experts, it’s called “ubiquitous computing or intelligence augmentation,” which envisions digital information becoming so integrated into our daily lives that we won’t even have to think about it, we’ll be seamlessly connected.

Wow.  I remember when my parents used to avoid the ATM because interacting with a machine instead of a person was so unnatural and foreign, especially for something as important as banking.

My point is not that my parents were backward; they weren’t – my father was an engineer, in fact. It’s that the purpose and proximity of technology has changed so dramatically in those few decades and that its evolutionary schedule is compressing to the point that it’s virtually impossible to keep up with what’s the latest, greatest thing. Something that seems totally far-fetched today will seem perfectly normal tomorrow.

(On a related note, see what Intel executive Mike Mayberry had to say about Moore’s Law on the same day:

And it’s not going to stop or even slow down. That’s why, as learning professionals, we must also continually look for new ways to help workers integrate new technologies smoothly and seamlessly into their workday.

That means more than simply teaching workers to use a new system or implement a new process, because even those new tools and processes will be forced to continuously change. We have to find ways to help workers adjust to ongoing change – and acknowledge and accept it as the new normal. And that means we need to develop new approaches to learning, new understandings of how people learn, and new ways to streamline and reinforce the acquisition of knowledge.

I don’t know about you, but that’s the reason I wouldn’t think of missing Masie Learning 2012 next week Orlando, where we’re spotlighting how Learning is Changing. Sure, I’m quite comfortable going to the ATM alone but those Internet-connected glasses and digital dining room tables scare me a little.

I guess I have a lot to learn.

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