REVIEW: Uma Vanka — The Future is BIG (BOOK)

Colin Jordan
3 min readFeb 18, 2024

“Your reason for choosing this book may be personal or professional. I thank you from my heart’s ventricle for picking a book that cares about you and your survival in this techy world. Obscure part to thank someone from? This obscurity is inspired by the fate of millions of people who think technology is not their cup of tea,” writes Uma Vanka, at the beginning of his new book. The statement feels cautiously optimistic, almost like a warning. Viscerally, it’s a fitting beginning for the kind of immersive nonfiction work Vanka has released, plainspokenly titled The Future is BIG: How Emerging Technologies Are Transforming Industry and Societies.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/umavankaofficial/

He adds, “This book is for those who want to read a book on technology but find it too intimidating. I aim to give the readers a wide vantage point and a bit of everything to get started in this convoluted world. While doing so, I might seem to scribble on the surface, barely scratching through, afraid of going to the deep. But that would be nothing more than intentional. I attempt to lure the beginners but not shoo away the mid-rowers.

There are two groups of people in the world: one who understands and uses technology daily and the other who has no idea how technology functions but may have been using it to some to no extent. Topics like artificial intelligence and space technology can quickly put a person to sleep if you start with DDoSes and ballistics. Yet, ordinary citizens are hurled with dozens of techno-keywords every day as if something exciting is cooking that would ease their transition into the job market. Technology has gone from as simple as starting a fire to as complicated as running the Large Hadron Collider.”

Minus the heavy references and terminology, what I appreciated about Vanka’s approach is being able to humanize extremely exclusive material. What he talks about impacts just about everyone’s lives in some capacity, yet making the specifics understandable is where the challenge lies. Vanka steps up to bat, and swings a homerun. I felt genuinely comforted by the nature of The Future is BIG as an intellectual peon, not because of the implications it highlights, but because it makes those implications comprehensible.

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Future-BIG-Technologies-Transforming-Societies-ebook/dp/B0C15Q4FZ6

There’s a warm affability to the way Vanka writes, a welcome relief to the stereotypically cold, removed flintiness of futurist books of this nature. He writes in a manner that isn’t high-handed or paternalistic, but does soothe technophobe anxieties to a fault. I dig it. There’s never the sense he feels he’s on a higher playing field just because on a technological expertise echelon she is. He’s someone as affected as you or me because of these issues, more so obviously in some ways — because he can see what’s coming. “…in the 21st century fast-everything culture, knowledge is broadly available and is profuse than ever but has become masked with layers of meaning that few people understand the important points the creators make. And forget about applying the learned in their life.

Most of this knowledge comes from theses and dissertations and do not talk to the minds of a nontechnical person. The discussion is so specific that few people outside the domain can relate, let alone apply in their lives,” Vanka states.

Colin Jordan

--

--

Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer