The Digital Revolution And The Digital Evolution: Part One
This has to be one of the more complex subjects I have ever written about. Not many people are ready to except the truth that the digital revolution is over, they think it’s still yet to come. For us early adopters, there’s no question about it at all. But, I can’t refuse this challenge - not for a minute. I just have to make it as good as possible for us all to read.
We process about 63,000 words of written text every day, so we have to ask ourselves - is it really a revolution when all we seem to be doing is exhausting ourselves with a massive input of non-essential information? Is our ability to curate still at the level of a caveman? And what must we do to help this exploding situation?
The Digital Revolution
As a concept, the digital revolution has been amazing. We have gone from nothing to an (almost) always connected world, where we share online what's happening in our lives with billions of other people.
Today's media has brougt us a level of transparency. The openness we have allows us to share where we are, what we eat, what we listen to, what we read, and who we are with. The limits of sharing are only those we put on ourselves. If anyone told me five years ago that I would be in a network (Facebook) that has more than one billion users, I would have said it’s impossible. But yet here we are. Facebook reaches an almost unimaginable population today, and it is still growing, and the distance between all of us is shrinking at an incredible pace.
Or is it? Some wonder if we are actually getting more withdrawn and solitary because we now have all our friends in arms length all the time.
Sheryl Turkle raises this question in her TED talk: Connected - but alone? "People text or do email during corporate board meetings. They text and shop, and go on Facebook during classes, during presentations, actually during all meetings. People talk to me about the important new skill of making eye contact while you’re texting.”
So we do all these things, even in social situations, but does it make us more or less lonely? My answer is, I don’t think so. I think for us 'less social' people, it gives us more of a sense of connection than anything we have experienced before. For those 'real' social people, I think they need to meet-up in person to feel the full connection anyway, and will do so whether there was an online component or not.
So here we are. Many of us waiting for the next steps...but there are no more steps to be taken. Technology is at its peak now. We will continue to see even thinner, maybe even bendable mobile phones that have (I surely hope) longer battery time than a couple of hours. We might even be able to go days without recharging them again. But this is just technology, not revolution. I think it's better to look at the next phases as Evolution instead than anything else because the Digital Revolution has already come and gone.
Digital Curation is a one of the solutions to our massive flow of information in todays society.
The text we read comes from online sources like newspapers, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Forums. We soak it all in, giving us a massive overflow, and many times, a redundancy of information from all these different sources. Maybe it’s possible to autocurate all of these sources and compile them into readable material. There are possibilities like Paper.li and other equal services, but they’re still not sharp enough to give us the end result we need, a clear and simple news-flow that’s curated by us, for us. We need an algorithm that intimately understands our needs and then selects and curates the sources on the fly, like we do when we collect and sample news during the course of a day. I personally would use one of those services every day, which would cut down my need to be online every day, and to have the news auto-delivered to a device of my/our choosing, or maybe as note in Evernote? How to make this happen will be one of the more important evolvements we will (hopefully) see the coming year.
We also crowdsource material. A great example is Wikipedia, the shining star in our media driven world.
There are other examples, like IMDB, where we can look for all information regarding Actors/Actresses, films, TV, and so on.
We also have more specialized sources like Akvo’s wiki about all things water, in the Akvopedia.
But as Clay Shirky recently points out, Github is starting to be a major player in the market. In his TEDglobal presentation How the Internet will (one day) transform government he says: ”So there's that as a site for source code management. But there's also the fact that law is another place where there are many opinions in circulation, but they need to be resolved to one canonical copy, and when you go onto and you look around, there are millions and millions of projects, almost all of which are source code, but if you look around the edges, you can see people experimenting with the political ramifications of a system like that. .. .. The New York Senate has put up something called Open Legislation, also hosting it on GitHub, again for all of the reasons of updating and fluidity"
Even here we’re looking for the best ways to curate without having to run it through different filters (read: People or why not legislation's groups) so maybe Github is part of a solution to this problem that will be a massive one in a near future.
But for me I can’t see that as a longterm solution, and neither is Wikipedia in my opinion. We need to have even more independencies to crowdsource material without to much involvement of governments, local or national. In the name of democracy, I see a possible better future for all of us because I’m sure that we all benefit from a more open society, where we use opensourced software that is developed close to the users, where ever they are. And in closeness together, with training so nobody will feel left outside the system and that all can take part if they choose to do so.
Flowsociety - The Digital Continuation
So where does all this lead us? Are we facing yet another uphill walk before we reach a sense of status quo? In my personal opinion, we all have to contribute to the new future. We need to share our collected knowledge, energy and common sense to develop the needed tools together. The closed systems are in danger of being obsolete as we face an opensourced future, in all areas. You can study courses online, for free, that give you the opportunity to graduate from Universities, knowledgeable in subjects you would never have thought you'd be able to grasp. In this flowing society - we already have a foot in. It will not be surprising to see people coming out of nowhere, who have extreme knowledge and skills that are willing to help others walk the same path as them. Maybe we’ll even call them pathfinders. They help others down a difficult road, showing how simple science, maths and language really are. The wonderful world of logic is ours to have, conquer and keep forever. The only skillset we need to have is our common sense and some desire to want to learn from others that are eager to share their knowledge with us all.
Together we’re the greatest source of knowledge we have, so don’t let it get wasted in systems that fail to work for, and with us. Let's find the solutions together that make sense, and are intuitive, and let’s all join in crowdsourcing these solutions for the better of mankind.
Is there anything that gives more purpose to all of us than helping each other?