Posts Tagged ‘edge’

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.

David Gelernter

and do all this before midnight tonight when you pre-order your vision reducing iPad, like me!

oh well….

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Have you ever had a period where the events and your surroundings conspired to mash together perfectly to take you away from your ordinary, usual, rarified and all too cool reality you live – transporting you to a level that is literally “whelming”?  …You ever had that?  I have.  I am doing it again; perhaps because I was lucky enough to be nursed on my wits edge, perhaps because of a teraflop of things.  Now, the point is, this is all primal to me.  Yet, it always seems to hit me by surprise because it is primal. 


Tonight was no exception.  It goes something like this – in an out-of-body kinda way…


Weeks of anticipation funnel to an inevitable point.    Then, in a “pop” like clearing your ears from a redeye flight, it‘s here.  You walk in, bold front and quivering ass not aware that you’re not breathing.  At that exact moment, or the one before it, or the one before that one, you know this is the time and this is the place… you just aren’t sure for ‘what’.   


A couple times before when your comfort zone was this small you didn’t know whether to wither, laugh, cry or throw up?  ‘This is good’ you muse.  You’ve taken steps to put yourself here physically that escalated from some intellectually ripe overture where you assessment that this could be an “interesting” gig.   Now, you’re off the access road and you’re finally here and they‘re waiting.   You are generating some pretty raw emotions being ‘in the moment’; experiences that are frightening and exhilarating but devoid of references. There is nothing around you you can hold on to that will anchor some familiarity with this unfamiliarity.  Yah, you’ve been center stage before, done your lines with confidence and rocked ‘em.   No script for this one though… 


You’d done all the preparation, the really hard stuff, the stuff that seemed hard until you were standing there with rock star level names cooking this new visual brew without a recipe.  “How’d they do that?”  Mouths moved but sound came and went like a dolphin fin in the surf. 


Then, while you weren’t looking, it happened.  Suddenly, a conversation where the language had only three or six foreign words in it slaps you.  They are talking to you.  Even though it makes no sense how it made sense, you go with it.  This epic was morphing before you and blurring the shadowed hallways behind you.   Now, it was natural to be there…


Stuff like that ever happen to you?  I hope you know ‘about’ what I’m trying to explain.   If not, I hope you will.  I think you know that when it happens to you, you’ll be different.  And that’s always hard to explain.  You’ll try; maybe more than once.  You’ll be silent for a long time sifting and shifting through meta context that your head blows over your tongue only to be unrecognizable coming out of your mouth.  No, the cliché doesn’t work… “…you’d have to be there!”  No, because that would change it; your personal epic spike.  Your soul mate, your mom and your hero’s can’t be there.   You’re not sure you’ll ever be able to explain what they missed.  Another kind of loneliness. 


Damn, this Red Bull can is cold…

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