posted Aug 04, 2000

THE ARCHIVAL MIND: The Brain's Third Hemisphere Digital Divide8/4/2000; 9:59:47 PM 'Indeed it also seems possible that we are now developing a new thought-consciousness. Our intuitive awareness of this fact accounts, I believe, for the characteristic love affair people come to have with their computers. To the outsider they are "computer nuts" or "nerds." The outsider can never understand one thing the present analysis makes clear. People who fall in love with their computers are really falling in love with their own minds, and the stunning new Boolean capabilities it makes possible.'This strongly reminds me of the concept of Intelligence Amplification, or IA (to provide a counterpoint to AI, Artificial Intelligence). The idea is that computers and humans will evolve together, with each providing unique strengths, into a symbiotic relationship, rather then the more morbid and scary AI Conquers World scenario.I catagorize this as a Digital Divide story because when I think digital divide, this is what I think about. "Access to information"? Not really so importent. The question is, will there be a class of people who can use their third hemisphere, and a class of people for whom it forever remains economically inaccessible? Computer 'literacy' is aptly named; the importence of being able to manipulate computers and obtain useful data and knowlege from them is on par with conventional literacy, for much the same reasons, and those reasons are growing stronger daily.Without computers, without the network of webloggers functioning almost as a prototypical group mind (without all that nasty mind-merging stuff I'd hate), without the computers to manage the astonishing flow of data I take in every day, I'd never be able to run this site. I don't just mean that because, as a web site, you need a computer of some kind to read it and I need one to create it, but I mean I'd never be able to hunt down the amount of information on these topics that I do... and still have time to do anything else. Rather then a consuming life passion, iRights is much more like a hobby, one of many.So, look at it this way: Because I make good use of my third hemisphere, I routinely engage in an activity as a hobby that in any other century would have required full time engagement. To deny these abilities to anybody is on par with denying them the ability to read. Perhaps they can't or won't read, but they must be given a chance.Note that conventional computer classes taught in high-school and even college (for the non-Computer Science majors) do not cover this sort of thing at all... they teach computers as a tool to do paperwork, or perhaps as a glorified calculator, but not as a thought tool. (This will not be easy to correct until we have a better understanding of how this thought tool affects us, and learn how to exploit it to the fullest.)This is also in some sense why Linux and Unix geeks like those operating systems so well... they may be a pain to use, but they facilitate being used to process information and extract meaning that Windows can't do (without massive effort).'People who fall in love with their computers are really falling in love with their own minds, and the stunning new Boolean capabilities it makes possible.'

 

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