Thursday, February 04, 2010

Frontline: Digital Nation

I was watching this excellent episode of Frontline on PBS about the increasingly digitized society that is evolving around us.

Frontline: Digital Nation

All the electronic equipment & software we now use constantly are basically enhanced extensions of our nervous system. The amazing thing about humans is the ability to engineer external reality to solve almost any problem or task.

With electronic technology, though, it is almost a self-perpetuating phenomenon now that we have extended the activities of the mind beyond the confines of our own skulls. The energy of our individual thoughts are leaching out into physical reality like a slime mold oozing out into it's environment.

Compared to the rest of human history, the growth of human knowledge & experience is beyond exponential now. I feel fortunate to be able to witness such a supernova of ideas and creative thinking. The interesting thing is that while the digital mediums of storage and transmission are physical, like the brain, the actual information is still an abstraction- patterns of electronic signals represented from code that is further represented from endless 1's & 0's.

Our creative potentials & informational capacity seems to be surpassing the ability of our organic bodies to handle it all. This is happening simultaneously with the development of augmented reality & artificial neural networks. Biologically integrated computers might one day meld the seemingly opposing artifices we call the "natural" world & the "virtual" world.

Then what?

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