A concise blog reporting on articles of importance to the future of human and social development.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On the movements of society

I just finished off a good two hours of sorting and pruning my way through my subscribed feeds.

Though I get the same satisfaction with this that someone with more botanic tastes might find in tending to a bonsai tree, it strikes me how small my ability to absorb and process information is when compared to the enormity of the blogosphere. Most of the opinions and writings available online are like my blog; a few (if any) regular readers, with the general focus being either something personal, or something that already happened somewhere else in the blogosphere.

Personal inadequacy and fury at the inane-echo-chamber effect aside, every time I sit down in front of a keyboard I'm humbled at the sheer diversity of material just a short, magical hand-gesture out of sight. Since the internet went mainstream (1995 or so), it's gone from being something of a gimmick to an indispensable part of modern life.

That's only 13 years. 13 years took us from having to go to the local library to access a tiny fraction of the world's information, to having nearly all of it accessible just about anywhere within a few thousand miles of the entire planet almost all the time.

This is a big change for us as a species. This is bigger than Television, Telephone, or Telegram. It's more game-changing than Aeroplane, Automobile, or Locomotive. This is a change to society at least as volatile as the Printing Press, as innovative as Written Language, and getting right up there with Fire and Speech to compete for most important invention ever.

And it's only been around for 13 years. A system that's been running for 13 years without a single minute of global downtime. Kevin Kelly wasn't kidding when he said that it was the single most reliable machine humans have ever built.

People like to talk about revolutions. There was the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution; and they like to say that we're living in another one, the Information Revolution. I like to tell those people that they haven't seen anything yet. In these previous revolutions, it took generations for both people and society to adapt to the new structure of life. People today who have never seen the world without the web are still in middle school.

These are the kids that will truly start exploring the possibilities in an interconnected civilisation.

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