Tag Archives: Computer

Is the person and technology becoming one?

Have just spent a couple of weeks on vacation – without broadband access at my fingertips.  Continued to monitor email and SMS – from my phone.  Probably online three times over the fortnight – had to make an effort.  Posted a few photos to facebook from the phone.

Real difference was not interacting with twitter and other social networks on a regular basis throughout the day.  Also – listened to the radio for news and read a few newspapers.

Just watched Kevin Kelly video/ presentation on future of the web.  KK (of Wired) sees the internet as one computer.  We use various devices to access the one computer.  ‘Things’ e.g. cars, clothes, devices which incorporate chips (e.g. RFID) are effectively part of the one computer.  And, indeed, we are in many respects sensors for this one computer – as more and more information ends up in the one computer.

This is enough to scare off a lot of people.  In the Q&A session KK fields a number of interesting questions, including what are the opt out options, is the one computer and the human race in conflict?  Interestingly seems that most people are happy to go along with what’s happening.  He has a great line ‘No personalisation without transparency’.  Effectively you have to open up, provide information about yourself, your business, whatever, if you want a personalised experience.

This morning read a posting about Gordon Bell – a Microsoft researcher who is attempting to record everything in his life digitally.

Interesting line in this from GB: ‘By using e-memory as a surrogate for meat-based memory, he argues, we free our minds to engage in more creativity, learning, and innovation (sort of like Getting Things Done without all those darn Post-its)’.

I have often thought that this is the case.  An example being that sometimes overprep for a meeting (reading all the material, anticipating the questions, etc) results in a less creative, open discussion.  Another example would be whether examinations are still bogged down in being largely tests of memory rather than tests of reasoning.

All of this relates closely to one of my own areas of primary interest – linked data and the semantic web.  Linked data requires entities to share more data – for the benefit of being able to correlate this with other shared data.  The semantic web aims to enable ‘intelligent’ processing of data by computers – ie the one computer referenced by KK.

I think KK is right.  The one computer is more and more a fact of life.  There are many benefits – and a number of threats.  While there are opt outs – and ways to escape e.g. go and live on a deserted island off the west coast of Ireland – inevitably the internet continues to be more pervasive (and invasive).

Looking forward to another few days of restricted broadband access.  And then back to life interacting with the one computer.