Little boy looking out of the window

Thoughts for the Weekend & this Week’s Links

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Back To The Future.

This week, I attended a conference about technology within the architecture, engineering and construction industry. Dull, I hear you say, but before you turn off, I did discover a few things that might be interesting to us folks who aren’t tech geeks:

1) Conference pears were named after the International Pear Conference held in 1885 in England after they won first prize.

2) The word conference is from ‘confer’, the act of consulting together.

3) People like to take photos of the most boring PowerPoint slides. Indeed, they take lots of pictures and then post them on Twitter. Given what I see, I sit here now and wonder why I found this surprising. It could be an extended ‘act of consulting together’ and takes the conference to those not lucky enough to be there.  I’m (not) sure it’s really helpful and creates more social media content and associated bragging rights – ‘I’m here, you’re not, you loser.’

To me, it’s an act of not being present; there’s no conferring; it’s an act of ‘look at me.’ I disapprove. ‘Put your bloody phone away and just listen!’ I was screaming in my head. Luckily, I was distracted by a door to the side of the hall that tickled my juvenile sense of humour. It would sporadically ‘fart.’ OK, moving on, its noises contained my rage anyway.

4) Who’s fed up with AI this and AI that? Who’s worried that it will take our jobs, make our children’s and grandchildren’s lives unrecognisably different (horrible)? At this conference, I heard those two letters, which I will never utter again, so many times that you would think we’ve been invaded by ChatGPT. It’s literally taken over some people’s brains. Some lovely cyborgs showed us many amazing technological bits and pieces, and we saw presenters so clever that I couldn’t understand what they were saying. We saw one cyborg so boring that I nearly started taking pictures (that door saved me). But they all had one thing in common: they couldn’t make PowerPoint play a simple video within their presentation. It comforted me and reminded me that my printer doesn’t always work. Until they fix the basics, and I can buy a conference pear ripened by you know what, I think we are ok. I’m not buying into this group-think crap and will rejoice every time the self-service till in Sainsbury’s needs a real person to come and fix it.

Somebody recently asked me how I think the world will be in thirty years. People are worried about all the changes they read about. I was a bit stuck. I could make some wild predictions (maybe PowerPoint will play videos seamlessly by then), but my only real reference point for thirty years in the future is to look at thirty years in the past – that’s right, Back to the Future. I struggled with the question because, when I look back to when I was twenty, I don’t feel like my world is fundamentally different.

I’ve run out of room to really go into it. So maybe the quickest way to reflect on the future is to remember that in the sequel to that movie, we had flying cars, my skateboard hovered and there were some shoes that did fancy stuff. None of it’s happened. Don’t be scared; the fundamentals of life are the same, and the things we all truly value are the same. The sh*t that changes is just noise. We need to work hard at keeping the volume turned down. No more pictures of PowerPoint, please!


I’m off to Paris and Zurich next week with my son, he’s thirteen on Tuesday.  He’s changed a bit from the little lad standing in the bath in the photo! I like this summer wine prize thing, so if you can guess what he’s looking at, a bottle of wine at Wines by the Sea awaits you. Email me at carl@carlarchitect.co.uk or simply pop in and see Lucy, tell her the answer and claim your prize.

This week’s weblinks feature chairs, coffee, wine and a kitchen I love. Any comments or suggestions you can get me at carl@carlarchitect.co.uk

Have a good weekend.

All the best

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