Monday, October 30, 2006

I, Robot

I agree with Caitlin that this post by Jim deserves wider comment. Maybe Scott, who has been delving into McLuhan, can help.

My response to his visit and his subsequent comments surprised me. The distance and analytical nature of the blog changed my voice, making it more metallic and harsh as I examined someone who I’d met for two hours and then passed judgment on him as if he were another blog. He is human and I forgot and in doing so became a little less human myself. That I think is the great flaw of blogs and technology – we have trouble communicating our humanity. There is no inflection of voice, a smile, a raised eyebrow to redirect, clarify or soften sarcasm, to add humor where it was meant to be. The words simply sit on the screen, not controlled by the writer, but interpreted by the reader. Even if we don’t assume new identities, as in Wikipedia or Second Life, we are new, different because of the flat nature of the medium. Perhaps, that is why there are all these odd fights, flaming on blogs and Wikipedia – the nuance of humanity is not there.


Aldon Hynes said...

This is actually a comment on a bunch of different posts, here and in other class blogs. Hopefully, it will make for a fun further muddying of the waters.

Colin raises the interesting distinction between moving information and considering information. Various people looking at MeFi end up talking about how overwhelming the amount of information is. Some of this may get to the information overload that Toffler talks about in Future Shock. So, how do we deal with information overload and future shock?

We look for tools to help us filter our information. The filters might be very sophisticated and spend time considering the information, yet this produces more information needing to be filtered. Or, the filter might be fairly simple, in terms of people simply flagging other information that they consider important; simply moving information.

The latter, it would seem, moves us closer to emergent swam activity, where the swarm is smarter than the individuals in the swarm. The ants moving material back and forth are not considering the material that they are moving.

This leads me to the discussion about Civilities. I’ve known Jon for quite a while and it seems as if his biggest hurdle, and the biggest hurdle of many online efforts, is to get critical mass. I’ve been involved with many efforts that never came close.

One of the big issues is the role of the leader. DailyKos has achieved critical mass. Markos provides a strong leadership that encourages people to participate. Jane, at Firedoglake, does that herself in her own particular way. The question is, can a community emerge without a strong leader like that? What would it look like? That takes us, I believe to de Chardin. It seems as if the Noosphere is conceived of much more in that manner. Related to this is what Tom Atlee, author of The Tao of Democracy, calls Co-Intelligence.

To tie this all back together, when you go back to Future Shock, our friends at Wikipedia tie this to the Technological Singularity.

Aldon Hynes said...

One last comment on this, please spend time and check out EPIC, the Evolving Personalised Information Construct, from Goolezon.

Personal note: Please check the 2014 version before the 2015 version.

joeydee said...

Cool stuff, EPIC. However it fails to take into account the fact that a giant meteor will strike the earth in the year 2012. I thought that was common knowledge.