Devices. I spend a lot of time looking at and considering the impact of and utilization of devices. Not because my job requires it, although it does, but because I am curious about the devices and connections around me. The Internet of Things (or Cyber Physical Systems) presents a great canvas on which to write a new story. From creating and challenging people to be more active (Fitbit, Smart Watches) to integrating the mundane tasks into automated execution packages. The world is changing to a digital version of itself.
I have, a number of times in fact, decried the arrival and then passage of the markers at the edge of the information age. We aren’t there yet. The information age will appear eventually, perhaps truly in my lifetime but there are things that still have to change. One of the big changes is the reality of the way things are cultures. Cultures built around knowledge retention not knowledge sharing. In the bronze age of human history, the presence of bronze and access to bronze increased the ability of all humans of that item to hunt more effectively, farm more productively and increase human population because of the tools they could make with bronze. The information age when it does finally decide to come out of its shell and make an appearance will be the free and open movement of information between, among and to people.
From a pure technology perspective, the technology is there. We could now build the infrastructure of the information age with what we have. There are still too many nooks and crannies in the overall Internet for pure information absorption but the technology is there. The data, like a small child yelled at for opening the cookie jar, sneaking into the kitchen to get the cookies without making noise. Yes, the information is there, but it is still locked. It is still controlled by the few.
It is more than a FOIA issue. (Freedom of Information Act). The amount of data that is classified and withdraw from consumption is small overall. We are talking about information that isn’t classified but is kept under lock and key. The information age will be the free distribution and sharing of information. Not the presentation of information in a locked (and therefore unusable) PDF file. Or information doled out like Halloween Candy. “I am sorry but I recognize your costume. I already gave you candy.” One piece of information shared, once consumed you back for another only to be told that well you’ve been there before.
I come not to praise information. I come not to speak volumes of the wonders that information provides. I come instead to bury the talk of the information age being here. Information at your fingertips, yea verify it is possible. But the free content only provides advertising for the paid content that has the information you need.
Information is not an infomercial waiting to collect credit cards and upon swiping the card give you the one nugget you need. Information is haring pictures of your family with the world. Sharing stories and pieces of the past so that others can find it, by simply opening their eyes.
The information age is when that is possible. That I open my eyes and there is what I need. Not a locked PDF file that I cannot change. Or a brain storming session led by the master of the parking lot. Where all ideas not coming from the leader of the meeting are placed in the parking lot. A place, the parking lot, where ideas go to die.
The information verily is the time in human history when you can walk down the streets of Prague and without speaking a word understand what is said around you. Universal translation, universal understanding and the ability to see the information you need clearly.
I asked the magic 8 ball of destiny if the information age had arrived. The answer was “seems cloudy.” I shook the ball perhaps the decahedron of answers was stuck and it came back with the answer “no” So I asked a third time, seeking the answer I was seeking but it came back “hell no” the third time. So I put down the eight ball of Destiney and wandered away.
Wither tis nobler in the minds of people to share, or not to share that is the question.