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More, Moore, MORE!

While thinking about Moore’s Law, you may remember, it states that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years, with the second law being that cost would fall with each new development, I was reminded of a passage from “Big Data” by Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier about the growth of information and the ability to share it. From the advent of Arabic numerals, writing, print and so forth it seems that the pace of our ability to share and manipulate data has been getting faster not unlike Moore’s Law. The world that most of us grew up in is very different from the world that we are living in now and will, no doubt, look much different in the future. How are we to understand and relate to the world that may be changing faster than our ability to understand it. Motion picture film moves at 24 frames per second that transform single images into a fluid moving image. Will our technology begin to move so fast that the single now is transformed into a rapidly disappearing past, beyond our understanding or realization?

Moore, Big Data,

 

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Where Angels Fear To Tread

As the namesake of this blog was fond of saying, media is an extension of our human nervous system and as such is neither good or bad, but a tool for us to use to learn and grow. Basically, radio is an extension of our voice, the telephone an extension of our hearing etc. With the advent of the internet and social media, it seems that our consciousness can be everywhere at once. As drones become cheaper and more accessible, it seems that our media vision can now see farther than ever before. With the addition of artificial reality and phones that allow us to immerse ourselves in a reality almost anywhere in the world or where we send our drones to look. This reminded me of a section of Neale Donald Walsch’s “Conversations With God” where he speaks of his belief that, to know itself, the creative force split itself into millions of pieces which were planted in us so that we could look back on the universe and experience it from outside the creative consciousness. As we move forward with our innovation, expanding our experiential presence of the world, are we not setting ourselves on a trajectory similar to one that many believe created ourselves.

Conversations with God

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The Birth of Alternate Truth?

I often think of Galen better known as Galen of Pergamon, a prominent Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher in the Roman Empire. While accomplished of all medical researchers of antiquity, might be a strange person to dwell, he influenced the development of various scientific disciplines, including anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, and neurology, as well as philosophy and logic. The problem was that as good as Galen was, his book was never updated for more current information. Centuries after Galen’s death, his book was taken as the book on medicine and when later scholars like Paracelsus disagreed with Galen, they were told that what they saw did not matter as it disagreed with Galen and Galen, they felt was truth hence, anything disagreeing with Galen was wrong. (There is a fascinating discussion of this in Daniel Boorstein’s, “The Discovers”, a book I highly recommend..)
This does not seem so far from the idea of alternate truths, and that today, with the internet one can find a source to back up whatever claim one makes. No matter how ludicrous a claim is made, it seems that someone can find some internet source to back it up. While, with Galen, it took years for the truth to will out, it now seems that we have a moving target in the realm of Alternate truth. Whereas with Galen, there was a finite monopoly on truth, the book was written and so his truth was determined. However today it seems that we have levels of truth, a tweet does not convey the truth but requires an interpretation and revision with a parade of soothsayers needed to discover the real meaning of the truth. Oddly enough, it seems that this was the initial objective of Galen.

Trump, Alternate truth

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Give me Broadband- or give me Death

When FDR spoke of the four basic freedoms in January of 1941, he made the speech on a new media radio. Nearly 75 years later I was surprised to see the scope of what we think of as a “basic unalienable right” is the right to internet access. It seems odd that while at one time wars were fought for religious freedom or for the right to free speech that now we should give access to electronic communication the same level of importance. The argument is that denying internet access keeps people from an education and denies economic and social opportunity by reducing options. At a point where we seem to find dispute in what constitutes an appropriate education or even finding a way to make it available to everyone, it seems curious that we should focus on sending out a message that no one would be able to read. That is not to say that broadband access is not important, is it something that we would be willing to die for as we did for similar basic human rights?

How badly do we want our MTV?

broadband, basic human right

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At a loss for words

Last week, we discussed computer code as a language and how it affects us as humans, in short, do the requirements of writing in code remove the human aspect of expression? That possibly the need to fit into a communicable structure for computers may remove the ability for expressive communication in code and this may begin to remove the ability for us to communicate with other humans in a human manner. This has brought up more questions about code and language. Will we someday be saving lost computer languages? There is already a great site for words that are falling into extinction and even a museum of expired technology beyond typewriters or rotary phones to apple clamshell computers and floppy disks. The thought is that someday we might need to get some information that can only be read by this older technology. This may be a good thing but it brings to mind the blind spot in our planning and thought process. If we were to look farther back in the past we might pause at the ancient writer’s preoccupation on the animating force of man and the universe. What is it that makes us go, this mix of air, the wind, and water makes us alive. While we are still struggling with this question we do know what makes computers run yet how concerned are we about that future? What happens to all this technology past and future if we don’t have the electricity to make it run let alone the language to speak with a long silent computer. While we should be concerned about the past and preserving it what good will it be if we don’t have the ability to re-animate it? While Dr. Frankenstein had lightning to reanimate but we may not be so lucky. Will we be able to speak to the future if we can’t understand the language of the past?

At a loss for words

At a loss for words

 

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Ghost in the Machine

I like Christopher Marlowe. If a person can be said to have a favorite Elizabethan playwright, then Marlowe would be mine. So my ears perked up on hearing that researchers doing a word to word comparison now believe that Christopher Marlowe wrote some of Shakespeare’s Henry IV plays and may have a hand in other works of the bard. The idea of determining exactly who did what in a creation of a piece of art is certainly not new, scholars regularly debate over who is responsible in the works of John Lennon and Mc Sir Paul McCartney, the cubist paintings of Braque and Picasso and many others.
When one sits down to read a work of fiction and often a work of non-fiction, one can tell a great deal about the author from the style in which they work. Most readers would never confuse Hemingway with Faulkner nor Dickens with Twain; and yet is this true of writers in computer code?
While it would not be debated that code is a form of communication, even if it is with a machine, which human communications do have but does the communication with a computer have some aspect of the writer inherent in it? There are many articles as to what personalities make a good coder, but what about the personality in the code? When one communicates with a machine do we lose our humanity and communicate in a mode devoid of human characteristics. When we speak to our pets we don’t speak like automatons and we have names and assign personalities to our cars or other mechanical items we have a relationship with. Does our communication with computers remove our humanness to the point that, were we to go back and look at a piece of code be completely unable to ascertain anything about the author or even if the author were human? Could it be that in speaking with computers, we find ourselves losing the thing that makes us, us?

determining personalty in computer code

Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare

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Down the I hole

Some current work is involving some data base correction and a fair amount of internet research. While I do enjoy research in and finding out information I have been shocked to see the internet holes (or I holes if you prefer) that people put themselves into. People and more so businesses seem to be neglecting  the creation of an online identity becoming internet ghosts.  While at first I was surprised to see that some contacts didn’t have profiles on LinkedIn- I was shocked to see that even more frequently the representative firms did not have profiles. In addition to this, it is not uncommon to find contacts with no e mail address or even websites for their firm or services. Have the voluntarily taken their business out of the public eye or are they blissfully unaware of the movement of information from print to digital. As we have discussed earlier, if you don’t exist on the web could it be said that you exist at all but it seems that while most of us would a terrifying business situation it seems there are people who still find the ignorance bliss, hiding in the attic while opportunity knocks at the door.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQzAAAAJGRlMjgzNWNmLWY3ZmItNGJiOC1hNDA3LWNkM2YzOGY5NDRlNg

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