Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Welcome to the Internet, Please Follow Me

The most interesting thing about the video we watched over the past two days is the fact that the information found therein isn't being taught in elementary or middle school (or Congress, for that matter). Students learn about the origins of the cotton gin, printing press, and telephone, but nothing of the origins of the most important technology ever created, the internet, unless they seek the information themselves. The impact it has made on the world is impossible to overstate. Coupled with exponential growth of processing power in computing, the internet has forever changed how humans (and now even monkeys!) communicate with each other. Say what you will about the state of face-to-face interaction and the role technology plays in its alleged decline, that's another issue entirely, but the advancement of the human race and the knowledge it has attained is largely connected to the continued freedom and progression of the internet.

A conversation I'm quite fond of always begins with a particular question: Where do you see yourself in fifteen years? It's an easy enough question, often answered in platitudes rehearsed for the occasion. When the question changes to where do you see the world in fifteen years, people usually take pause and come up with something along the lines of, "I don't know. Different?" Few people think about the unstoppable merging of humans and technology on a day-to-day basis. I'm fascinated by the concept of transhumanism. The implications of our current technology, information, and knowledge booms, along with the steady and mostly predictable progress of technology and human reliance on it are staggering. Concepts of group mind and the Singularity (honestly one of my favorite subjects) are quickly becoming not only possible, but inevitable.

Tying back to the movie, I find it hilarious that the creators of all of this technology were surprised with what they had wrought in 2000 when those breakthroughs are essentially already obsolete today. I'd love to see a follow-up special by the History Channel, but they're too busy showing auction, pawn, and restoration shows these days to actually discuss something pertaining to history.

All grandiose aside, the internet is a fucked up place.

No comments: