Thursday, September 24, 2009

People and computers

Sometimes it feels like we are designing/(haphazardly pushing forward) a world in which we have no part. Its moving faster and faster, and one wonders whether a different creature- perhaps some digital descendant of ours is better fit to survive here.
We can think of previous revolutions such as mechanical and chemical. In the end we still found a role for ourselves. We found ways in which to buffer ourselves and take advantage of the power of these new technologies. We created cars and airplanes to travel fast and still be in relative comfort. And we don't have to use these fast technologies.
Here's an interview with Ray Kurzweil. Actually he kind of pisses me off. Notice at around 2:30, he is asked the question of what we can do to prepare for the change. He doesn't answer the question, instead, he seems to revel in the predictions of how fast things are changing.
For him, the human brain is something to copy, source material for something else. That's ok, but why do we want to do this? Why just build and build and build. Ok, there's a certain inevitability to some of it. But what's more interesting to me, is people and how they interact with these changes. There's a cheapening effect. Where's the depth? Sure, he might say that the power is there for even more depth. But shouldn't we start with the depth that we have and try to increase that? Where is literature and art and experience of nature in this kind of vision? Its just faster and faster and faster? I guess this is just another kind of conversation to have.
But for me, the thing to remember is that there's no reason why things have to be worse. We don't need to just try to get faster stuff for its own sake.

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