[Humanist] 22.616 looking back

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Mar 15 08:05:27 CET 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 616.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2009 12:26:16 -0300
        From: renata lemos <renata.lemoz at eletrocooperativa.org>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 22.615 looking back
        In-Reply-To: <20090313062237.0F0F230FBC at woodward.joyent.us>

dear james, neven and willard.
thanks for your comments, but I do not think you truly understood the deeper
meaning of my questions. when I asked willard if he believed that the
answers, or guidelines, to our future could be found in the past, I meant to
provoke reflection on the real nature and depth of the technological changes
that are happening in the present.

of course knowing about the past is important. but sometimes, looking back
searching for references could actually be misleading. picture this: someone
who is walking searching for a new river and all of a sudden finds the sea.
this person has never seen the sea and does not know what it is like. the
river and the sea are water, but if this person looks back to his/her
previous knowledge or experience of rivers trying to get insights into the
nature of the sea, and the possibilities of the sea, these insights would
only be limited to say the least; and would most probably be misleading.

what I am trying to say is that present emerging technologies are the sea.
they are still technology, but trying to compare them with previous
technologies is like comparing a river to the sea. maybe, just maybe, one
could learn much more about the brand new possibilities of the sea of
present technological achievements by actually going into the sea and trying
to swim, and actually experiencing the sea, than to look back to previous
accounts and theories of rivers trying to find a way to navigate in the sea
- which is entirely different...

I hope I am getting my point across better this time. in order to illustrate
the magnitude of this sea, here is a little account of present
possibilities, available online:

Cognitive Expansion Technologies

William Sims Bainbridge


*Journal of Evolution and Technology<http://jetpress.org/v19/bainbridge.htm>
 *  -  Vol. 19  Issue 1 – September 2008 - pgs 8-16


In ancient times, at great effort over the span of many years, people
learned to do arithmetic, to read, to write, and to measure reality with
rulers and eventually clocks. A person who cannot handle any of these
cognitive tools is a very different creature from somebody who can. The
changes happening now will be at least as significant, and will occur much
faster, probably within a single human lifetime. This article will consider
cutting-edge research being done today, and extrapolate its implications
some distance into the future. One theme of this survey is that very humble
information technology applications could have a cumulative effect that is
extremely dramatic, all the more stunning because we ourselves will be
involved every step of the way.

that being said, I cease and desist of talking about these issues in this
forum. I apologize for the fuzz.
renata lemos

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