I seriously wonder about this all the time.
Spending a lot of time thinking about collective intelligence and collaborative filtering over the last decade has led me to believe that most of the stuff we’re creating actually reduces our vision.
From Facebook to twitter to iphones…. we’re pruning our networks and our opportunities to actually run into new people, new experiences. Why have a new, uncomfortable conversation at a school function when you can just text your friends on your phone? why participate in a town hall meeting when you can just join a Facebook group? why surf the web anymore when twitter can just tell you what’s hot? why go to a bar for a band you’ve never heard of when Pandora can just pick what you like?
Maybe it’s just me.
Food for thought.
Read the following Edge piece or check out “You are not a gadget”.
34. The Internet today is, after all, a machine for reinforcing our prejudices. The wider the selection of information, the more finicky we can be about choosing just what we like and ignoring the rest. On the Net we have the satisfaction of reading only opinions we already agree with, only facts (or alleged facts) we already know. You might read ten stories about ten different topics in a traditional newspaper; on the net, many people spend that same amount of time reading ten stories about the same topic. But again, once we understand the inherent bias in an instrument, we can correct it. One of the hardest, most fascinating problems of this cyber-century is how to add “drift” to the net, so that your view sometimes wanders (as your mind wanders when you’re tired) into places you hadn’t planned to go. Touching the machine brings the original topic back. We need help overcoming rationality sometimes, and allowing our thoughts to wander and metamorphose as they do in sleep.
and do all this before midnight tonight when you pre-order your vision reducing iPad, like me!