The examined life

on January 7, 2008 with 0 comments » | , ,

Interesting interview with Nicholas Carr, a former executive editor of Harvard Business Review and author of the 2004 book Does IT Matter? In his new book, The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google, he "targets the emerging "World Wide Computer" — dummy PCs tied to massive server farms way up in the data cloud."

The interview has some really interesting quotable quotes:

Computers are technologies of liberation, but they're also technologies of control. It's great that everyone is empowered to write blogs, upload videos to YouTube, and promote themselves on Facebook. But as systems become more centralized — as personal data becomes more exposed and data-mining software grows in sophistication — the interests of control will gain the upper hand. If you're looking to monitor and manipulate people, you couldn't design a better machine.
and
The scariest thing about Stanley Kubrick's vision wasn't that computers started to act like people but that people had started to act like computers. We're beginning to process information as if we're nodes; it's all about the speed of locating and reading data. We're transferring our intelligence into the machine, and the machine is transferring its way of thinking into us.
You can read more at the blog - Rough Type.

Carr also had an interesting article in the Guardian last year about the self-recording craze, that the internet and its tools have enabled in the last few years.... blogs - especially of the dear-diary kind - being one of these activities.
The unexamined life, said Socrates, is not worth living. Today, we seem to be operating under a new and very different dictum: the unrecorded life is not worth living. Thanks to digital technologies, we now have the tools to chronicle our daily actions and thoughts in the minutest detail - and to share the record with the world.
The article ends with a gem of a thought...something every blogger must poise and ponder about.
As for Socrates, it's hard to imagine that he'd be pleased with any of this. We're so busy recording our lives that we have little time left to examine them. And perhaps that, more than anything else, is the real point.

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