Thursday, January 19, 2006

Kevin Kelly web 2.0 - commented

Media onvergence means that multiple kinds of media signals will be transmitted through one box, and noteably this box was one that the big players of the nineties hoped to control, says Kelly.But he also thinks that in the coming decade cthis image will be turned inside out,as reality has given us many differently shaped windows to the global computer. Nothing converges,according to Kelly. The Machine (with a big M) is an unbounded thing that will take a billion windows to glimpse even part of. It is what you'll see on the other side of any screen.

Then he asks who is going to write the software for this "contraption" ? We, the people - we're already doing it! When we post and then tag pictures on the community photo album Flickr, we are teaching the Machine to give names to images. Flickr usersand everyone tagging content help thickening links between caption and picture, thus forming a neural net that can learn. Each click on a Web page helps teaching the Machine what matters to us; linking words will teach the neural network how our brans make cross rererences! Just think of Wikipedia. Our global skin of neurons will adapt autonomously and acquire a higher level of knowledge, explains Kelly.

Instead of thinking ot the brain as a department full of programming cells that configure the mind, imagine how brain cells program themselves simply by being used. Likewise, our questions program the Machine to answer questions. Each time we click a link we strengthen a node somewhere in the Web OS, thereby programming the Machine by using it.

What will most surprise us is how dependent we will be on what the Machine knows - about us and about what we want to know. We already find it easier to Google something a second or third time rather than remember it ourselves. The more we teach this megacomputer, the more it will assume responsibility for our knowing. It will become our memory. Then it will become our identity. In 2015 many people, when divorced from the Machine, won't feel like themselves - as if they'd had a lobotomy. Says kelly.To be very honest I already have this brain dead feeling quite often - whenever I'm moving around offline, I so miss my Google, my wikis, my local files and my blog!

I beleive in the legend saying that Ted Nelson invented Xanadu as a remedy for his poor memory and attention deficit disorder. The Web had indeed already become that big collective memory, and it is growing every minute. Then Kelly adds an interesting point: once we get to see a machine that subsumes all other machines so that in effect there is only one Machine, which penetrates our lives to such a degree that it becomes essential to our identity - this will be full of surprises. Especially since it is only the beginning.

There is only one time in the history of each planet when its inhabitants first wire up its innumerable parts to make one large Machine. Later that Machine may run faster, but there is only one time when it is born.

You and I are alive at this moment, says Kelly. Kelly, me and everyone else are living here on Earth, now. But we still have our free will, our very specifically coded brains, right? So - we have come such a long way back since the dream of a difference engine...

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