Modern Boys and Mobile Girls. By William Gibson
“'Why Japan?' I've been asked for the past 20 years or so. Meaning: why has Japan been the setting for so much of my fiction? When I started writing about Japan, I'd answer by suggesting that Japan was about to become a very central, very important place in terms of the global economy. And it did. (Or rather, it already had, but most people hadn't noticed yet.) A little later, asked the same question, I'd say that it was Japan's turn to be the centre of the world, the place to which all roads lead; Japan was where the money was and the deal was done. Today, with the glory years of the bubble long gone, I'm still asked the same question, in exactly the same quizzical tone: 'Why Japan?'
Because Japan is the global imagination's default setting for the future.
The Japanese seem to the rest of us to live several measurable clicks down the time line. The Japanese are the ultimate Early Adaptors, and the sort of fiction I write behoves me to pay serious heed to that. If you believe, as I do, that all cultural change is essentially technologically driven, you pay attention to the Japanese. They've been doing it for more than a century now, and they really do have a head start on the rest of us, if only in terms of what we used to call 'future shock' (but which is now simply the one constant in all our lives)….
I'm still not completely sure what the point of this article is, but I especially like the quote about all of us being curators.
I also want to put in a plug for Eric Snowdeal's site. If you're not reading or subscribed to it, you should be. Every couple of days, he senses a major issue coming to the forefront and collects a series of relevant and interesting articles that provide full context for the issue. Recent topics have included technology and education, deep linking, cyberwar, and the change from free to fee services. It's like having your own company librarian who spots trends and provides background. Those with aggregators can grab his feed here. [The Shifted Librarian]