STEAMing Through the Singularity

STEAMWONK. That’s an interesting name. We thought so, and we hope that you do as well. Our ongoing story is centered around the “Singularity”, or what we call the “New Renaissance.”

Ok, what does THAT mean? It means that things have changed, are changing, and will keep changing at a pace that most of us are not yet ready to comprehend. By “singularity” we mean a confluence, or coming-together, of many ideas and a synergy that results in an evolution of the way we do things. Quantum computing is a good example. It is not coming towards us, it is already here. We have yet to see widespread adoption of this new facility, but it will change society in a radical way—similar to what electricity and the microprocessor did for products and services in the 19th and 20th centuries.

We have only an inkling of what kinds of changes and opportunities will shortly arrive as integral parts of living in this century. Our goal is to concentrate on the positive and useful ideas that will improve our circumstances against the obstacles that we face. The Founders sincerely hope that our story will be encouraging the shift to sustainability, responsibility and economy. We want to focus on reusable, non-toxic practices; products that discard obsolescence for durability; and ideas and systems that are not only efficient, but available to all for reasonable prices and terms.

Years ago, it was intriguing to consider the advantages that “Steampunk” presented to our sense of style and perspective. Today, it is time to exchange the edgy “Punk” mentality for the enlightened “Wonk” mentality. That is, in brief, our sense of purpose. We see the opportunity for encountering this century as “Wonks,” or experts, in daily living and thriving. The Science, Technology, Education, Arts, and Math/Media worlds are going to be examined, perhaps decoded, and reviewed for all of our benefit. And, of course, if no one else engages with what we present, we will happily keep talking among ourselves. As we have been. For quite a while now. Feel free to join us….we would really like the company.

We are developing a community of afficionados, adopters, enablers, creators, and builders of the New Renaissance. We keep looking for ways to improve and enrich the content, but now is the hour. We don’t want to be burdened with the irony of being a cutting-edge technology resource that never goes live, so here it goes. Please join us while we, like “The Singularity”, evolve quickly.

STEAM is our acronym for the sciences of Social, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Material. This is our take on “STEM”. A Wonk is a subject matter expert, thus–STEAMWONK. The TEAM, like farmers, outstanding in our fields. The Team are futurists who have advanced degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Astrophysics, Geophysics, English Literature, and Theater. We will bring you articles from the STEAM and Wonk categories each Chapter, and each Chapter will focus on a different aspect of the Singularity. With our background and interests, we’ll explore other acronyms for our letters like Education, Energy, Math, and other categories as #tags to help you research topics of interest with metadata.

Our first chapter introduces our website, the Technological Singularity, and a concept for discussion and development, Personal Protection Systems. The Singularity is not a new concept, but we will help refine your understanding of it by adding articles from member journalists and scientists.

We’ve also created the backstories and first few episodes for a comic strip portraying emerging technology and featuring our heroine, Stea, and her AI research companion, Zing, along with a supporting cast of characters. Stay tuned for Episode 1.

In our articles you will find blue text words and phrases. These highlighted terms are hyperlinks to references or resources in RESOURCES. Articles start with an overview of an emerging technology subject, then allow readers to do a deeper dive into that subject with longer, more thoroughly referenced articles.

Readers and subscribers may also access Posts(this is our Blog) in our Technology Rising within RESOURCES, or visit the Store for hard to find materials and components, DIY kits and, as we like to call them, STEAM projects. Members can access deeper and more expansively referenced reviews of subjects in the Wonk section of the Resource Hub.

We’re offering new and innovative products through our Store which representor use emerging technologies and, last but not least, steampunk and Steamwonk cool stuff for you to help support the cause.

We’ll be concentrating our Store offerings on items we see as potential components for new systems we propose. All purchases help support our efforts to share knowledge. For readers who would like to support our Wonks(experts),you will find the icon of a coffee cup in the upper right corner of content rich posts and key resources. If you like what you read, please buy the author a cup of coffee for their time and trouble.

We define the Singularity as an exponential growth curve of technology and knowledge over our lifetimes. We believe civilization entered the steep portion of that curve in the 1980’s with the advent of the internet. We believe that the cusp is now, and that we will be living the vertical growth side of the curve.

We believe that this Singularity will provide a Cornucopian future, rather than a Malthusian and Dystopian one. We believe this will be a Golden Age for entrepreneurs and truly a New Renaissance. Our Wonk (expert) articles will present why we believe this. We will dive much deeper than many emerging technology ezines, creating do-it-yourself projects and offering technical challenges and mentored forums. On our road together you will not only discover new technologies, but understand them and learn how to put them to use.

SMASIS is an ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) acronym for a range of scientific disciplines and experimentation which are leading the way for emerging technologies. Though it sounds like a James Bond Villain, the acronym SMASIS actually stands for three classifications of study which attempt to encompass key engineering elements of the Singularity. These are Smart Materials, a group of metals, fluids, polymers, and other materials which change physical properties under environmental stimulus; Adaptive Structures, also called activated or smart structures, which change shape due to environmental stimulus; and Intelligent Systems, which encompass system designs for these materials and structures.

Key university, government, and corporate researchers in SMASIS specialties meet yearly to share knowledge at a conference sponsored by ASME. These SMASIS conferences showcase developing standards, materials, methods and prototypes of new inventions, as well as advances in system design. Steamwonk Chapters will be covering these and similar events. We’ll also do interviews and cover conferences like the Toeffler Symposiums, as well as review interesting patents.

As individuals and societies, we must change as fast as our technologies—adaunting task given their exponential growth. Our hope is that the light at the end of the tunnel is a bright future, not just a rapidly approaching train! How should we react? How to even relate to these new developments? If the Singularity will affect everything, then what will its effect be on STEAM? What skills will we need? How can we position ourselves to not only survive what is coming, but to thrive? Coming to grips with these questions is our goal.

Steamwonk is dedicated to enabling the best of the futures before us. We will assist our members in reaching for this goal, and moving forward right now in acquiring vital skills and perspectives to take charge of their own future. We look at this as a group sponsored effort to improve everyone’s lives. Our focus will be on SMASIS, but we expect our members will be creating their own technological niches and launching new products and industries to benefit us all. This is Steamwonk’s mission. We hope our articles and essays inspire you and give you a taste for things to come.

In Steamwonk chapters we will be discussing the science and technology of new fields and ways we could take advantage of them. We want to encourage other scientists and professionals to join us in this community effort. We want to empower individual entrepreneurship and distributed manufacturing to improve the quality of people’s lives and the fate of our society. Power to the Makers!