Richard Burke in his excellent book “Connections” states in his conclusion that the more technology becomes complex, the more esoteric the language that it refers to becomes. I find myself thinking about this and the speed with new technology is changing our world. Will things ever become so fast that we wont be able to come up with words to understand what is happening fast enough? McLuhan said in the Gutenberg Galaxy that we drive into the future looking into the rear view mirror of the past. Yet if we can not come up with works fast enough to describe what is happening in the present are we not doomed to be speaking in past tense? Will our ability to comprehend be out run by the rate of change so that the only ones that can keep up will be computers making the discovery? Perhaps when we ask them what is new they would only reply, “ Ancient history”
It seems that emoticons are here to stay. Indeed according to an article published in the journal Social Neuroscience they are quickly becoming a new language. I am not a big user of emoticons or emoji’s I am intrigued by the idea of using them as a form of language. It reminds me of an afternoon spent in one of my favorite book stores and coming across a book made up entirely of haiku’s strung together to form a narrative. While I guess this is common in Japan, it seems like an exercise in short form – creating a structure of a book that could be tweeted if desired. To take that one step further, Fred Berenson a research associate at NYU has decided to rewrite “Moby Dick” in emoticons. Fascinating as that may be I find myself stuck on the idea that we seem to be returning to a language of pictographs. While that seems less able to convey meaning then an alphabetic language it may be that we are less interested in conveying layers of meaning and are more interested in being concise. Maybe, in the future, Shakespeare will be surpassed by the tweet in a world where less will have to mean more.
In the movie “Gigi” there is a song sung by an older couple as they remember the day when they first met, The man sings “We met at nine”, and his wife counters, “We met at eight”, he returns “I was on time”, “No” she replies, “You were late” to which is says, “Ah yes, I remember it well.” It’s a lovely duet and it makes me think about the news that now Google is saying that perhaps we cannot forget what we have remembered. You may recall a court ruling in Europe said that someone could protest old links and stories about themselves and petition to have them removed. Google, said they would oblige people’s wishes to be lost from the internet as we have discussed here before. It seems that now it is not so easy to remove the links that bind us together. While the whole situation is interesting I find myself thinking about stories of people who have a photographic memory and are incapable of forgetting. Imagine the curse of remembering everything exactly as it happened. I recall hearing how someone was listening to a lecture and one of the other attendants sneezed and that sneeze was now an indelible part of the lecture- there was no ability to edit or choose what was remembered or forgotten. Imagine keeping every photograph that you have ever taken, unable to throw out the bad ones or photo bombs. For what will we be held accountable when everything we do is recorded and retrievable? Will there be a hierarchy as to what is more important and what isn’t? And what about the physical space of our cyber memory, will our online past soon be so large that it will take up more space than we can give it? There are more questions but unfortunately I can’t remember them right now…..
A link to an article on the issues around internet forgetting
One of my favorite terms of late is, “The Internet of Things”. If you’re not familiar with the term it alludes to the day when everything that can be connected will be connected from your laptop to the computer in your refrigerator or to an entire factory. In short it takes the idea of natures interconnectedness, that all things in the world communicate with each other one step further so that the electronic world which we create would in fact be a sort of demi monde to the natural world. Imagine this new internet with its interconnectedness of all things descending on the old; humming along creating its electronic cricket chirping of 1 and 0’s along with that of the nature world. We have commented how the ongoing pulse of the internet’s alternating current is reminiscent to the alternating pulse of Gregorian chant. Could it be that now a second voice will be added to the music of the spheres, that if man can not create a world for himself we can create some great cosmic duets.