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Remembrance of Technology Past

Robert Frost said there is something that does not love a wall that wants it down. It seems to me that it is not so much hating the wall as loving the remnants of what is was. We are fascinated by ghost towns and the memories of things past. This crossed my mind when I read the BBC article on the possibility of the “digital dark age”, that all the things we have been saving on computers may be lost to us as hardware and software become obsolete. The situation would be like the Egyptian hieroglyphs before the Rosetta stone. While Vint Cerf promotes an idea to preserve every piece of software and hardware so that it never becomes obsolete – just like what happens in a museum – but in digital form, in servers in the cloud I feel strangely fascinated by the opposite. That at some point we may be confronted with a keyboard or monitor and have no idea what it does, the same way my son is fascinated by my rotary telephone. Is there not a planned obselence for information or technology, a point of no return? Ruins and remnants fascinate us, should we not let technology take on the same role as buildings, even ideas that are no longer considered correct or viable. Do we need to save everything or can we let memory be all that we possess of the past?

 

Here is the link to the BBC article
http://m.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31450389

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Are they Gods, or are they announcers?

It has been interesting for me to follow the controversy with Brian Williams misrepresenting experiences and how with an egregious sin that he could no longer be trusted as a newscaster and that he has transformed himself into an inverse Cassandra who cannot be believed. I find this curious as I generally listen to the BBC, who generally starts each broadcast with an introduction of the lead story and then the phrase (or something like it) Here is the day’s news as read by…. and then the newsperson name. From the outset, there is no illusion that the person reading or presenting the news is doing anything other than just that, presenting news. There is no assumption that they are in any way involved in, are responsible for it or have a place in the days other events other than presenting it to us- a talking head delivering news. To my mind, the British have it right, which makes me wonder what is that we are looking for in our news anchors? Are they oracles or announcers; have they become the messenger and the message a shimmering Godlike chimera who must be perceived as speaking truth at all costs.

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More Emotional Words

I have been pleasantly surprised by the response to last week’s post about the possible emotional content of our posts- that not only could our posts carry the words that we write but the emotions that we put into what we write. It got me to thinking about the namesake of this blog and how he saw media as an extension of the body. That each new technology extends our senses and nerves and in the largest sense our being. If our texts and our e-mails convey our emotional content, is it possible that electronic communication could take the place of our speech conversation? That we could communicate our emotions without speaking- possibly by only looking at our avatar-, do we really need to have face-to-face communications? Is it possible that our electronic communications would actually replace our human communications? Perhaps we could fully integrate ourselves into computers with no serious lapse of ability to communicate or recognize if we are talking to a person or a computer. If you have called a customer service line, you might have found that we are already approaching that reality of complete computer communication integration.

 

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Emotional Words

I have been helping my son with his Science fair project for a few days now. He is recreating the work of Masaru Emoto  a Japanese author, international researcher and entrepreneur, who claimed that human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water. While his work is fascinating I wont go into it here but basically he believes and proves in his work is that our intentions have a physical effect on the objects that receive the message that is sent. Angry words can retard the growth of plants while positive and loving words can make them grow even faster than a control plant. It seems that the message is more than just a message and that the meaning is carried in more than the words. This got me thinking about our new media- and if our correspondence caries any emotional intent that we put in as we type. Perhaps our emotional message is carried forward in every media that we use, speech, writhing or electronic text. Perhaps we need to think about more than just what we type before we push the send button.

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