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Natural Affinity: TrailheaDX

Natural Affinity: TrailheaDX

by Jeremiah ShackelfordMarch 30, 2018

Salesforce expanded the ‘National Park, Natural Beauty’ theme even further this year at its developer conference TrailheaDX. At first take, I can hear the skeptics: ‘technology and nature are opposites, who is Salesforce kidding by blanketing its platforms, cloud products, apps, and developers with a ‘feel good’ gimmick suggesting otherwise?’ And while I can hear that argument at face value, I would suggest that soon enough, if one looks into the body of evidence that literally surrounds us, software and other information technologies WILL be quite natural on Planet Earth. It’s already in the clouds is it not? I think it’s also in the cards for far more of our not-too-distant future.

Is a data-stream a river, a geopbyte a mountain, or endless code branches a forest? No, of course not, but will they be used to protect those precious natural landscapes as the human population moves towards 10B? I believe so. And after-all, humans are very much a species among nature, even if we don’t think of ourselves as such, and even if we are absolutely dominating this particular rock in the Milky Way with less than sustainable ramifications at present. Technologies are the tools we invent to thrive, such is the way of the ‘fittest’, and survival, and all that. In the end, the Earth system will absorb and integrate all code within it, be it biological or digital. Relative time scales are changing for the Earth space, the question is what will adapting look like? I don’t have an answer to that, but I know you need to be in the game to have a voice. So whatever affinity-for-nature marketing campaign is necessary to fill the gap in developer demand, why not? We NEED far more Citizens of the World to be a part of the information/internet revolution, coding their voice, and not feeling/being left behind. Otherwise, the resentment-filled, desperation-fueled destruction and violence will continue to build and manifest itself as conflicts, and even war.

If a system does not provide its inhabitants room to grow, the instinct is to tear it down and make room for another. In the case of advanced networking technologies and compute however, there is no ripping it out. And here, yes, I cannot resist using Blockchain as an example: distributed systems will endure by their very ‘nature’. In many instances, the attempt to censor or destroy today, all but guarantees that means of doing so won’t be available in a finite number of tomorrows. The very serious problem we face currently is that violent expressions of discontent push world-changing technologies that are already in too few hands, into fewer still. The proliferation of mobile devices and OPEN Internet access provides hope though. The masses will not be silenced, and if hacking their way to a better existence or even government is the path necessary, then so it will be. Dictators and authoritarian regimes seeking to magnify their strong-man tactics of control are set to be thoroughly disappointed. For me, even after a decade, that is why developer conferences continue to be exciting. The transparency builds each and every time.

For its part, and certainly relative to its size in the overall technology sector, I believe Salesforce is doing more to create the developers the World needs than any other tech company [and immense kudos to them for doing so]. Enter Trailhead: gamification to learn Salesforce technologies. Yes, you can expect a lot of Lightning and a healthy dose of Einstein too, but there are other major players getting hip to Salesforce’s game, not the least of which is Google Cloud. Now THAT is interesting for a number of reasons. If with its immense resources gCloud can support, if not facilitate, many other tech companies to create their own ‘Trailheads’ to help would-be developers get up to speed, those numbers begin to matter a great deal. Be it by streamlining AppMaker compatibility, or in any other way simplifying infrastructure and app deployment, GOOG is on track to influence A LOT of hearts and minds. #dotherightthing

The last male Northern White Rhino died recently, his name was Sudan. With his passing a trend is beginning to take shape: humans will have to witness the Sixth Extinction we created. By habitat destruction, hunting/poaching, and most notably man-made, emissions-driven climate change, we represent an immense threat to other species on Earth. The path of human civilization and industrialization have led us here, and perhaps the departure from hunter-gatherer and agrarian existence has taken us away from primal nature in a traditional sense; but when our technology helps save or restore our planetary ecosystem(s), how will we see it then? We have a choice, we just need to see it in that light. Is it the ultimate hubris to contend human technology will design and engineer itself into a playing field with Mother Nature? No, that is now our reality, the requirement we must meet. You want to know who is going to meet it? Developers and the collective code base they contribute. It is an equilibrium capable of bringing Sudan back to life and so much more, it is how we as a global society and planetary system move forward. Find your trailhead.

About The Author
Jeremiah Shackelford
Jeremiah Shackelford
Jeremiah Shackelford, Business & Market Developer