Sunday, June 01, 2008

Being highspirited...

Said about the Web from Alex Wright's book Glut:

  • Writer Steven Johnson compared the dawning age of software to a religious awakening, predicting that "the visual metaphors of interface design will eventually acquire a richness and profundity that rival those of Hinduism or Christianity."
  • Supercomputer pioneer Danny Hills argued that the advent of the World Wide Web signaled an evolutionary event on par with the emergence of new species. "We are not evolution's ultimate product. There's something coming after us, and I imagine it is something wonderful. But we may never be able to comprehend it any more than a caterpillar can imagine turning into a butterfly."
  • Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil suggest that we are undergoinga "tecnological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history," an event so momentous that it will trigger "the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light."

Alex continues by stating that "mystical beliefs about technology are nothing new."

  • H.G. Wells predicted in 1938 that "the whole human memory can be, and probably in a short time will be, made accessible to every individual," forming a so called World Brain that would eventually give birth to a "widespread world intelligence conscious of itself."
  • the catholic mystic Teilhard de Chardin in midtwentieth century foresaw the rise if an "extraordinary network of radio and television communication whích already links us in a sort of 'etherised' human consciousness" that would ultimately metamorphize into "a single, organized, unbroken membrane over the earth." Teilhard believed that this burgeoning networkded consiousness signaled a new stage in God's  evolutionary plan, in which human beings would coalesce into a new kind of social organism, complete with a nervous system and brain that would eventually spring to life on its own accord.

Alex: "Today, the torch song of technological transcendentalism has passed from the visionary fringe into the cultural mainstream."

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