david gelernter

The Future Is A Stream

25. From which we learn that (a) making correct predictions about the technology future is easy, and (b) writers should remember to put their predictions in suitably poetic language, so it’s easy to say they were right.

25. If we think of time as orthogonal to space, a stream-based, time-based Cybersphere is the traditional Internet flipped on its side in digital space-time. The traditional web-shaped Internet consists (in effect) of many flat panels chaotically connected. Instead of flat sites, where information is arranged in space, we want deep sites that are slices of time. When we look at such a site onscreen, it’s natural to imagine the past extending into (or beyond) the screen, and the future extending forward in front of the screen; the future flows towards the screen, into the screen and then deeper into the space beyond the screen.

26. The Internet is no topic like cellphones or videogame platforms or artificial intelligence; it’s a topic like education. It’s that big. Therefore beware: to become a teacher, master some topic you can teach; don’t go to Education School and master nothing. To work on the Internet, master some part of the Internet: engineering, software, computer science, communication theory; economics or business; literature or design. Don’t go to Internet School and master nothing. There are brilliant, admirable people at Internet institutes.   But if these institutes have the same effect on the Internet that education schools have had on education, they will be a disaster.

Read on.

Power Quote / 6 Comments
March 9th, 2010 / 5:03 pm