NYT on context

I recommend reading  the NYT article “Texts without context” by Michiko Kakutani. It heavily quotes Jaron Lanier.

 It’s describes the state of the art with regards to the internet, media and culture. We’re changing the way we think and process information: commentary is king, division and identity politics are key, and “mash-ups are more important than the source” (to quote Jaron).

The article gets lost in the middle and has too many quotes. But has good points of how we’re receiving and interacting with info today. It’s a thought provoking aggregate.

Kakutani writes “People form judgments before seeing the arc of an entire work… and rely far more heavily on cherry-picked anecdotes — instead of broader-based evidence and assiduous analysis”.

This is very much in line with news reporting today. It’s become like fast food- don’t let it get cold before you serve it.

He ends with another quote from Jaron  “… since the Web is killing the old media, we face a situation in which culture is effectively eating its own seed stock.”

Whether this is good for us isn’t relevant; it’s here. I doubt it will ever go away. It’s now a right, a platform for freedom of speech that people have never had before.

I don’t think we can neatly separate technology, business, and culture anymore; the bleed is too heavy.
Some initial questions for the future.

  • What will define a subject matter expert?
  • Should we build frameworks for knowledge unions?
  • How this effects business and government?
  • What role can technology play in making sense of the mess? Is it a mess?
  • Can we predict the evolution of media and culture?
  • Is there an opportunity to redirect culture? Should we?

I saw a talk from Mary Ann Allison 5 years ago. Part of her talk was about automation and its effect on society (Farming, manufacturing, etc). She gave us in software technology a warning, she called it “Karma”-and said be thoughtful because what we automate, as we will be setting the stage for automating social processing.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

NYT on context