Blog Post #1: Technology Hurts My Head Sometimes
“The amount of information in the future will double every 11 minutes by some estimates.” writes Judy Luther and Stephen Abram in their Library Journal article “Born with the Chip.” This statement triggered me out of that article reading haze. After some searching and thinking, I believe it has to do with the idea that technology will increase exponentially in the future. This seems very reasonable when you think about how much has happened from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the time computers were invented to now.
What type of information growth will be happening? I imagine information growth will be influenced by all the connections between sources of information on the Internet. Each connection, say each time you subscribe to an RSS feed or add a friend to your Myspace, you are adding a unit of information. At this point much of the new information may be new units made of old information. This is how discoveries are made--connecting existing concepts in a new way. Perhaps some time in the near future information growth will have increased so much that we will outgrow the Internet.
One of the things that I came across while pondering and searching on the growth of the amount of information was the theory of Singularity, which seems to have many different views, but begins with this notion of exponential technology growth. The ending is varied, but writer, inventor and visionary Ray Kurzweil states in “The Law of Accelerating Returns” that the current century “will see almost a thousand times greater technological change that its predecessor.” Some Singularity theorists claim that the future machines will be more intelligent than humans, and humans may somehow grow to live through machines in an immortal cyborg kind of thing. This is my first exposure to Singularity, but this is definitely not a plot I am unfamiliar with thanks to popular movies like Terminator, AI and Robocop. One Singualrity anticipated date of the machine uprising is 2045, which may be about the time that things will really be getting out of control as a result of peak oil. It is a little past the date of earthly destruction that Doomsday Asteroid is expected to produce in 2039. So, then is Singularity the the next step in evolution?
I guess the most important thing I have gathered from these transgressions is that technology is going to keep changing and the amount of information is going to keep growing. They feed each other, and we (humans (and machines?)) feed both ends. Web 2.0 applications, metadata aggregators, and RSS stimulate the growth of information to move exponentially. The philosophy, ethics, parameters, and expectations of it all has caused my brain to spiral and spark—what’s going on inside of my computer and the millions it is connected to right now?