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2007-10-30

Evolution of Machines

Just as humans adapt to new tools, machines evolve—or, rather, their manufacturers adapt to technological advances, changing behaviors, and market conditions. Howard Rheingold explained this dance five years ago in his book Smart Mobs.

That the effects of text messaging on Japanese and Scandinavian societies have not appeared fully in the U.S. shows the impact money and policy have on technological behaviors. Business and government are very much part of the information ecology. Laboring under a hard-wired legacy telephone system, U.S. telecommunication carriers are loathe to write off their 20th century investments, while competition has made them reluctant to share or standardize their technologies.

But I have to wonder what will happen if our nation's mobile technology and practices ever sync with the rest of the world. Because, the example of the metric system aside, we can't afford to sit this one out indefinitely, can we?

My guess is that even as the devices get more powerful, information packets will get smaller, akin to SMS. If well-tagged and linked according to an open descriptive system, such as XML or RDF, even the smallest bits of information could be powerful because of their connection to others, creating a mass of accessible data. Furthermore, the information could be easier to code accurately and maintained, because they are small, and might not required traditional inputs, such as a keyboard.

It's all speculation, of course, and it'd require a major adaptation to the technology from us. We'd have to accept a model in which information is constantly flowing through and communicating with our mobile device, rather than existing natively on it—not an easy proposition for a society still struggling with intellectual property and the concept of ownership.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

All i know is we're going to have to stop Cyberdyne before if becomes self aware...

I saw the Matrix, I know how this one ends... like everything else we do... Keanu Reeves fighting for our future and Lawrence Fishburn looking like Moses...