Influence lives at intersections. Yet, as an industry, it at times feels the boundaries we have built around who makes an effective product manager, or programmer, or designer, are stronger than ever, even as the need to cross those boundaries is ever more pressing.
Do we need to continue to assume that social media content needs to be forever? I’m curious as to what happens to identity if social media emphasizes less enduring recordings and instead something more temporary. It would be identity less concerned with itself as a constant “artifact”, a less nostalgic understanding of the present as a potential future past and instead an identity a bit more of the present, for the present.
I think libraries need to look at how to make the wisdom of the library available to patrons in an unmediated format.
We hold a problem in our minds and it frequently exists nowhere else in as descriptive a form. That can be really difficult, because things we hold in our mind and nowhere else have the tendency to change subtly every time we examine them, like reading a book in a dream. Trying to hold a detailed, complex idea in your mind for extended periods of time is basically impossible without progress that allows you to transfer the idea to something concrete and stop remembering it.
These days, doing anything on my phone isn’t measured by what an app does, but by the space in time I’m navigating between apps—the moments of transition between doing something and doing something else.
Dyson: We have created this expanding computational universe, and it’s open to the evolution of all kinds of things. It’s cycling faster and faster, and it’s way, way, way more than doubling in scale every year. Even with the help of Google and YouTube and Facebook, we can’t consume it all. And we aren’t really aware what this vast space is filling up with. From the human perspective, computers are idle 99 percent of the time, just waiting for the next instruction. While they’re waiting for us to come up with instructions, more and more computation is happening without us, as computers write instructions for each other. And as Turing showed mathematically, this space can’t be supervised. As the digital universe expands, so does this wild, undomesticated side.
Wired: If this is true, what’s the takeaway?
Dyson: Hire biologists! It doesn’t make sense for a high tech company to have 3,000 software engineers but no biologists.
It’s true (and exciting) that so much knowledge has moved online in the past decade. I can learn basic programming via Treehouse. I can learn web design in a course on Udemy. But what if I want to learn about the physics that drive hardware performance? The materials science behind the next generation of wearable computing? Or what about how to bring electronics manufacturing back to the United States? There are real, fundamental sets of knowledge that are still locked up in traditional academia.
I’m still working my way through Foucault’s The Order of Things and have made slower progress than previous weeks. Busy weeks at work and lots of travel will do that. As I was working through my notes from the last 100 pages this quote caught my eye:
To know is to speak correctly, and as the steady progress of the mind dictates; to speak is to know as far as one is able, and in accordance with the model imposed by those whose birth one shares.
I particularly like those first six words. To know is to speak correctly. Has a nice feeling to it.
When you let it be itself, everything on the Internet belongs to everything else. The walls tech people try to raise, to convince investors that there’s dollar value there, are fake. They don’t hold anything behind them that has any lasting value. The only things that stand a chance are things that flow. And for that, the walls get in the way.