EDGE question 2010: How is the internet changing the way you think?

[ Mon. Jan. 11. 2010 ]


Each year, John Brockman of Edge.org asks a question of a number of science, tech, and media personalities, and compiles the answers. This year's question: "How is the internet changing the way you think?" Lots of good, meaty responses that make for great reading, from interesting people whose work ideas have been blogged here on Boing Boing before: Kevin Kelly, Jaron Lanier, Linda Stone, George Dyson, Danny Hillis, Esther Dyson, Tim O'Reilly, Doug Rushkoff, Jesse Dylan, Richard Dawkins, Alan Alda, Brian Eno, and many more.

I'm far out-classed by the aforementioned thinkers. But here's a snip from my more modest contribution, "I DON'T TRUST ALGORITHM LIKE I TRUST INTUITION":

I travel regularly to places with bad connectivity. Small villages, marginalized communities, indigenous land in remote spots around the globe. Even when it costs me dearly, on a spendy satphone or in gold-plated roaming charges, my search-itch, my tweet twitch, my email toggle, those acquired instincts now persist.

The impulse to grab my iPhone or pivot to the laptop, is now automatic when I'm in a corner my own wetware can't get me out of. The instinct to reach online is so familiar now, I can't remember the daily routine of creative churn without it. The constant connectivity I enjoy back home means never reaching a dead end. There are no unknowable answers, no stupid questions. The most intimate or not-quite-formed thought is always seconds away from acknowledgement by the great "out there."

The shared mind that is the Internet is a comfort to me. I feel it most strongly when I'm in those far-away places, tweeting about tortillas or volcanoes or voudun kings, but only because in those places, so little else is familiar. But the comfort of connectivity is an important part of my life when I'm back on more familiar ground, and take it for granted.

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