Wednesday, August 29, 2007

From macro information to mini information


This as you can already suspect is my attempt to explain why I'm becoming lazier reading whole books ;)

When I started thinking about it my first attempt on explaining it was: I love the ideas not necessarily the books (this is specially true for some engineer written books). After that first thought I had some associations with instant messaging and micro-blogging. That's how I came out with this theory:

It's a pretty accepted truth that the space-time keeps accelerating for humans as technology brings as closer in space-time through improved traveling and communications. Our today's ADD described society keeps finding more ways of making "synapses" (abusing of the word to describe information exchanges).

We go from long hand written letters mailed (to start somewhere) to emails. And we go from emails to instant messaging. At the same time we go from whole books to papers and then to blogs and from there to micro-blogs (like twitter). Of course all the previous technologies don't vanish immediately, they just loose adepts over time until they're obsolete although they might still exist in some Earth pockets.


The idea is that as we are more communicated and inter-connected we don't need to share all at once the "whole mind status" (I'd call it macro-info for lack of a better word) as in a book but we rather do more frequent micro information exchanges that allow us to integrate our own mind status with the incoming flow of information from another mind status.

I believe this tendency will continue for a long time now, until we become better at sharing each other's minds through technology all at once in a meaningful way, I guess through communication standards and maybe a more formal language conventions or going in a completely different direction through algorithms that can somehow convert from my meanings to your meanings and vice versa (this means machines that fully understand semantics and brain operation and can communicate from one to the other). Once we mastered this kind of technology we would probably see the future-time equivalent of books come back in a very expectable leap as evolution often likes to have.

I tried to find a biological parallel in the human brain having stronger/longer synapses for a baby brain than an adult one but couldn't find any ... although I'm thinking of a person that might know ...

Wow, I'm impressed on all it took to relieve the guilt caused by the pile of books in my night stand ...

3 comments:

Alejandro said...

It's difficult to know if blogs and miniblogs, moblogs, (and text messages) are a cause or the effect of the increasingly shorter attention spam.
In a society where technology advances exponentially, we need to communicate ideas faster.
It's what we have become anyway.
I still think we lack tools to collaborate online , IM and Email aren't enough...

Cecilia Abadie said...

Good additions on the moblogs (I love their potential and maybe will try it for my personal blog for fun as I drive to work) and text messages.
Interesting that you mention the exponential speed increase. According to the amazing book by Ray Kurzweil "The singularity is near" being in the knee of the exponential curve will manifest in an explosion of changes in our lives in the next few years ... exciting ...
Still thinking on the cause effect relationship here. My intention was to present all of these as effects of the shorter attention spam, not sure how it came across ... the cause would be the acceleration of space-time as a result of human increasing interaction through technology, but they might be two retro-alimenting factors ... we should read Mayda's post on causality and correlation.
I agree too, there's a lack of tools, we should blogstorm on that some day ...

Alejandro said...

I know this is kind of "out there" but the ultimate frontier would be to be able to communicate whatever thoughts or ideas you find interesting, or worth discussing .
To whoever you choose whenever you choose instantly. ( no equipment needed ), we're still not there but Kurtzweil's ideas make a lot of sense in this context.
Anyway this post got me thinking about the next step, and exponential advance,( notice how we went to writing , to email then to messages and blogs, and miniblogs in increasingly shorter bursts).
Will be a next killer communication app ? I refuse to believe that instant message and twitter are the pinnacle of human communication :-)