Saturday, June 23, 2012

And that the strings in the books ain’t pulled and persuaded

I ran into an old friend this week who works in a university. He told me due to a department reorganisation, and a decision to encourage students to use online resources, a library he had built up over many years had been closed and many of the books had finished up in a skip.  Now you don't have to go back far to find political regimes that destroyed books, but this was an education establishment !

This got me thinking about the future of stored knowledge and the control of information.  Students now have their work checked to weed out the cut and paste dissertation, and that is all well and good, no first class degrees for cheating.  And I have concerns that our sound bite culture and instant rolling news channels  is reducing the ability of  people to concentrate. This blog for instance provides links to other websites that may encourage  butterfly minds to flit from one bloom of an idea to another (Here).

Glad you could rejoin me.

Of course the "index" is the key to good scholarship, where to find the information you need.  The main online index is of course  Google, and the main online encyclopedia is wikipedia. Google provides the software for this blog, thank you Larry and Sergey I really appreciate it.  But as with everything else in our world this will become increasingly commodified and only those with the money will be able to access  information, leaving the vast majority of people knowing little, and not knowing that they know little. Of course this may all be a distopian nightmare, and we will all wake up in 50 years or so to a plugged in paradise.

This process along with texting and social media may end up changing human nature.

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