Mon, Apr 26, 2010
Thanks for your post. I feel like playing the advocatus diaboli on this one (granted that I am in the right mood for that:) )...
Unfortunately, lots of existing information is fast-food information, just as lost of existing as-if abundance is an abundance of cheap copies which only serve their intended purpose for a short while.
Even more unfortunately, there is now a huge generation that takes this situation for granted, that is accustomed to this fast-life surroundings, with fast-food, throwaway cutlery, cartoon houses and newsfeeds which are forgotten almost sooner than consumed. As a result of that, and thanks to the existing technologies, phobias and misunderstandings are spread much faster than before, whereas voices of reason are rare.
I am afraid that what we see now reminds a lot of what Herman Hesse described long time ago, in his book "Ludi Magister" (or "The Glass-bead Game") as "the crossword culture". People do have access to enormous amount of information now, but because they have limited capacity to process it, and nevertheless want to process as much as possible, they try to make it as simple as possible, discarding all complex and/or boring (for them) parts.
Apart from that, I think the problem of filtering the useful information out of useless one and "poisoned one" (which includes spam) will become one of the major problems very soon, for everybody. I also think this might even be one of the first areas where AI might be of real usage (as personalized preprocessors of raw information, something like a secretary used to be in the past).
The other danger that might come is that, next to the possibility of brining together people who are far away from each other, but have simple mindsets, new technologies might also result in creating new cast system, where members of different casts (mindsets) might live next door to each other, but never ever speak, spending their time in the virtual life instead. In the extreme, this might lead to the situation when similarly-minded people will decide to relocate closer to each other, this or other way. May be that is how the states and citizenships will be defined in the future? Will it be good or bad? Is it how everything started long time ago in the past?.. Who knows... (Many fairy tales seem to be mentioning technological wonders not unlike those we have around now already).
I might sound like I don't want the technological future to happen, but this is not true. As a programmer, and therefore professional paranoiac, I always try to envision as many bad outcomes as possible... hence all the grumbling :)
Everything aside, the idea of people who will serve as nexuses of information, transmitting it and directing its flows between those who are connected to them, speaks up to me quite a lot. This is what might come in place of huge and slow existing nexuses, represented by official bodies like magazines and newspapers and the like. Also, this is something no science fiction writer (among those known to me) has yet considered in details (though may be I need to catch up on SF).
And finally, I would like to see these emerging collective minds having more influence on life than it does now. Initiatives which take part in the real world, changing it to look more like what we want it to be, so that it will not be looking like an art for art's sake... Hope to see that soon enough.
Tue, Apr 27, 2010
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- many thanks to David Price