Digital Culture Library Issues

Stranger Than We Know

My article Stranger Than We Know was just published by NetConnect! I’m really very happy with the way that this turned out. One of my favorite articles that I’ve written…all about mobile technology, and speculation on where it’s going over the next 5-10 years.  Here’s the intro, go take a look if this seems interesting. And leave some comments, since I’d love to hear what others think, and if I’m on or off track on this stuff.

Arthur C. Clarke once famously said that any sufficiently advanced technology was indistinguishable from magic. The technology that is now a routine part of our lives would have been nearly unfathomable just a decade ago. Moore’s Law has ensured that the two-ton mainframe computer that once took up an entire room and nearly a city block’s worth of cooling now comfortably fits in your hand and weighs only ounces. It is difficult to put the truly amazing nature of this shrinkage into perspective, but consider this: you have in your mobile phone more computing power than existed on the entire planet just 60 years ago.

These new devices are changing the way we interact with information. Their capabilities are even changing how we conceive of information and information exchange, adding significant facets such as location and social awareness to our information objects. The physicist J.B.S. Haldane once said, “[T]he Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” So while librarians are aware that the next five to ten years will bring radical changes to books, publishing, and the way we work with the public, we must remember: the future isn’t just stranger than we know—it is stranger than we can know it.

Let’s see how close we can get to knowing the unknowable.

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