Showing posts with label Science and Technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science and Technology. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Stream, The Lifestream, The Mindstream

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,

And time future contained in time past.

If all time is eternally present

All time is unredeemable.

What might have been is an abstraction

Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.

What might have been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always present.

Footfalls echo in the memory

Down the passage which we did not take

Towards the door we never opened

Into the rose-garden.
My words echo

Thus, in your mind.

T. S. Eliot,
The Four Quartets

I have been thinking about David's manifesto, (David Gelernter: Manifesto) and some of my recent online socializing, and some of my readings. I read this article below online only a few days before I read David's manifesto. The manifesto talks of the lifestream concept. This article does not spell out the word, but I think it talks of the mindstream concept. It can be thought of as futuristic.
The Harvard Crimson :: Opinion :: My Disconnected Life .... Over the past several years, I’ve lost my cell phone more times than I care to admit. My friends consider me—endearingly, I hope—a clumsy, irresponsible fool. They shake their heads when I admit that voicemails have gone unheard .... To make matters worse, I am also notoriously bad with e-mails. Days can go by as I “forget” to check my mail; if my laptop’s charger isn’t nearby, that’s often reason enough to take a stroll instead of peruse my inbox. ...... Irresponsibility has allowed me to disconnect, and I am all the more happy for it. ...... It’s difficult to imagine life at Harvard without the Internet, cell phones, e-mail, instant messengers, and every other connectivity device. The proliferation of Blackberrys, Treos, and most recently, Moto Qs, have made our umbilical cords wireless, feeding off our addiction to mother e-mail. But life before these blessed, though burdensome, conveniences did exist. Without daily doses of Dems-talk, Throp-talk, Newstalk, and innumerable other e-lists, it feels as though we would never be informed of campus’ most important (and, alas, unimportant) debates. Procrastination would become more creative, and we would certainly be ignorant of the uncouthly candor that is brought about by impersonal conversation. ...... Without class e-mail lists, we would actually have to attend lecture to find out when our next assignment was due. Consulting teaching fellows about a troublesome paper would require face-to-face interaction in office hours, rather than the mundane chore of firing off an e-mail. Perhaps even classes would be fairer as compiling 40-page study guides that offer delinquent students the opportunity to sneak by with a B-plus would be much more challenging to coordinate. Keystroke, click, send—the Harvard soundtrack. ....... But what a liberating relief to be unreachable for a while. Friends often joke about the strange sensation that overtakes them when they suddenly drop their cell phone in the river or leave it stranded in a bar bathroom; just like that, they become a ghost for a day before reconnecting at T-Mobile. For those few pre-millennium hours, the world is a little less imposing. For a second, we are relieved of the obligation to be accounted for at every moment, to be responsive to everyone.......... It is during these hours that I realize—all too often, in my case—that it can be nice to take refuge in my own solitude. Uninterrupted by the pressure of constant phone-checking or e-mailing, we are forced to breathe and think and rest. As it stands, it seems unnatural to want to be out of the loop for a bit; people seem unnerved if I explain that I went “missing” for a while because my phone was dead. From what precisely I was missing is unclear; I was enjoying myself by myself. ......... we under-appreciate the virtue of taking time for ourselves. We no longer get away without a look of concern if we aren’t sitting in Lamont with our laptops, refreshing our inboxes, texting our friends, answering our phones, or seeming to care that—for a minute—we were walking around thinking alone. ......... It has become so expected to be in touch and online that sometimes it seems the only reasonable explanation for a prolonged disconnect is a little bit of irresponsibility. ........ I just want to be alone for a while.

David Gelernter: Manifesto
The Human Is The Center Of Gravity In Computing
Visionary Entrepreneurs Will Recreate The World
Goal: A Billion People On Twitter
The Search Results, The Links, The Inbox, The Stream
Fractals: Apple, Windows 95, Netscape, Google, Facebook, Twitter
Jeff Jarvis: Bold Restructuring
Web 5.0 Is Da Bomb
Silicon City
Entrepreneurs: Spikes
Web 5.0: Face Time
Search: Much Is Lacking
A Web 3.0 Manifesto
Dell, HP, Apple
The Next Search Engine
Memo To Bill Gates
Google's To Do List Keeps Growing
Social Networking: Where The Internet Comes Down From The Clouds
Not Hardware, Not Software, But Connectivity

The human mind can be considered the last frontier of human knowledge. We know less about the human brain than about any other piece of real estate in the universe. And the internet might be our best "telescope" yet into that human mind. If the mind expresses itself enough, maybe we will start seeing patterns, perhaps we will understand better.

But the mind might not achieve its best performance if permanently at the beck and call of the primitive gadgets at our disposal, a cellphone's ring, or the inbox' deluge. Mindnumbing keyboarding at some point is glorified slave labor. It is perhaps a shallow friendship that gets measured by if you replied to my last email or not.

Thinking is more important than reading. Technology does not change that. The mind, so, is more important than the web. The webstream, the interweb lifestream necessarily has to be respectful of the mindstream. Some mindstreams respond best to solitude, some to music, some to silence, some to intense socializing, some to the web, some to reading, writing. To each his or her own.

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

Not Hardware, Not Software, But Connectivity

There is plenty left to be desired on the hardware and software fronts, but the real bottleneck in getting all 6 billion potential surfers online is neither, but connectivity. What business models could emerge to bridge up the digital divide?

Two technology models that hold promise: (1) broadband over power lines: zip, fast too, and (2) wireless broadband.

Internet access is fast becoming a basic need. What do you need to survive? Food and water are obvious. After that free internet access might be pretty close. I am serious.

The word "free" is important there. You don't pay for television shows. You don't pay to search on Google. The ad-model works just fine. The same could apply to internet access.

Say a company (or two, or three) comes forth, and they beam internet access to all corners of the planet. The catch being, when you go online with them, they, not you decide what the homepage will look like. And for that first webpage, they bring you online for "free." Heck, they might even get you to use only their browser, in which case, they could keep a toolbar that will always be with you no matter where you go online.

A click is a click is a click. I am sure a company like Coke/Pepsi does not care who the human being is. They will want people everywhere to see their ads.

And such a democratizing force that universal internet access will be too. Nothing like that to empower the individual. How will autocracies - those that remain - sustain themselves in the aftermath? They plain can't. Social transformation will be quickened. Universal education will become a reality, and it will be seamless from one level to another. A student in Bhutan could be following lectures at MIT.

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