Thursday, 13 April 2006

Dream Time

I have interesting dreams. Many involve the end of the world in various kinds of techno-apocalypse. Last night's was different.

Last night I visited a digital commune in Silicon Valley. Many people lived in a huge and lovely building, always online and connected to an all-encompassing wiki/blogs/social networking system. Cameras and sensors fed data upstream, and in turn the system regulated downstream behaviour, every action and interaction a shadow of an online transaction. I wandered around, disconnected, irrelevant to its participants.

Sometimes the feed from one camera seemed to catch the attention of the entire community, the people nearby would point to it, and there'd be a rush to see who could touch it first, no matter how inaccessible. People spontaneously formed structures, piling up to lift someone's finger to a great height. Now it reminds me of the Sistine Chapel.

The system broke down. On screens that tracked the status of community members, I could see people disconnecting, losing karma. A confused crowd gathered in a large hall and was addressed by a group of leaders. I looked on from a distance, discussing with another observer, inexplicably Andrew Appel. There was an air of finality, of an experiment that failed.

I'm not sure what it all means. It smelled like Google, Orkut and 1984. It did, however, make a nice change from being hunted by robots.


3 comments:

  1. You've been working too hard; take a break. :-P

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  2. You've dreamed part of an ancient prediction... "many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another...and because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold."
    Unfortunately, we live in a world that maximizes opportunity for offense. That's a relational downside of micro-indexing all communication. (Just wait until audio tracks can be googled! Then you'll be able to _prove_ that Jane WorldChanger dissed Islam during an obscure 1980 talk in a rural community meeting?!!)
    We're working on ideas to make eSpeech more gracious by nature... needs much prayer.

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