wish I could go…
Google has started a new quarterly publication, Think Quarterly. The first issue is about data, and it pretty interesting.
|—||Dan Gardner’s conclusion in ”Future Babble” (according to Kathryn Schulz in NY Times Book Review)|
this really makes me want to working on the project I’ve been planning with the amazing woman behind mugshotz — a combination of images and poetry about the downtrodden, the impoverished, the homeless BUT the WEALTHY OF SPIRIT.
you’ll have to wait to see what I do - but, for the moment, look at what she does!
[Salvation Army, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, NY — March 08, 2011]
“It’s bits all the way down.”
Illustration by Timothy Goodman for Geoffrey Nunberg’s review of The Information: A History. A Theory. A Flood. by James Gleick in the NY Times Book Review.
Take this or leave it. It would be nice if we had a little perspective though, such as: how long is the list of unaccomplished/unrecognizable philosophy majors? the world may never know…
|—||Sorry Tumblr. This place is curious and interesting but not quite right for me. No hard feelings?|
What do you mean its “in the cloud”? What’s the problem with calling it a new paradigm?
Around 1:25 of the following clip, Larry Ellison retorts to all the buzz around cloud computing.
“All it is is a computer attached to a network - WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?”
Ellison’s outrage is apt in a sense - namely his own. He’s been doing this for years. The internet isn’t changing; neither are computers. Nothing is qualitatively different about the use of these particular technologies in the age of the cloud.
So what’s the all the buzz about? You might be tempted to say it is a revolution in the activities that the combination of these technologies offers - a new paradigm in information technology.
The more I learn about the history and development of technology, the more I feel like Thomas Kuhn has ruined our conception of history. The use of the term gets bandied around regarding new technologies as if technological developments are, by nature, all-encompassing and necessarily revolutionary. I do think cloud computing offers significant new epistemological and economic capacities to humanity, but the idea of pursuing it as a new technological paradigm, though it does not seem to come up in Ellison’s presentation nor mar most of the readings on cloud computing from this week, has something to offer regarding the considerable concern that people in the industry have over the apparent buzz-iness of the term. It marks a particular obsession with the New that threatens to debase our understanding and use of technology. It suggests the pursuit of a kind of technological manifest destiny.
What’s the trouble with that exactly? Maybe you don’t recall the history of the western towns in a boom and bust economy, or the exploitation (and subsequent pollution) of natural resources, or the destruction of the Native American way of life, all products of the United States’ pursuit of the ideal of manifest destiny.
All of these are all historical precedents for recent developments in technology as well. The bursting of the dot-com bubble - or more present in recent memory, the banking industry’s rush into derivatives markets (a new banking technology) which nearly collapsed the global economic system. The natural water and energy resources, which have allowed our industrial economies to flourish, and which have been subsequently used up or polluted by poorly understood biological and chemical waste products. The Patriot Act as a new solution for terrorism which has resulted in the breakdown in privacy rights and the freedom of individuals to pursue a diversity of interests without worry of governmental oversight; or the development of globalized technological and economic networks, which not only kills the ability of individuals to step away from the office and marketplace, but threatens to invade and destroy all private spheres of life.
So I want to take this moment to return to the mantra of Douglass Rushkoff in insisting that we “Program or be programmed!” If we only think of technological development as an inevitable process, if we valorize all new developments, if we idealize the paradigm shift in itself, we are not only going to make serious mistakes, but we are going to reverse the whole purpose of technology in the first place: to actualize human potential - to help us do what we want to do. Technology shall become the master, and humans its slave.