Will information become worthless?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by one_raven, Jan 9, 2005.

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  1. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    So, here we are smack dab in the middle of the "Information Age", huh? Is it official yet? Will this be viewed with as much importance as the "Bronze Age"? The "Industrial Age"? In a couple hundred years, will they still be referring to the "Information Age"?
    Anyway...

    I was thinking about information the other day.
    People tout it, covet it, buy it, sell it, give it value...
    They say that there is nothing as important as information.
    It is how we learn, how we progress.
    It is hard to dispute how important and valuable information is, and I wouldn't try.

    What worries me is information losing its intrinsic importance and value.

    Invariably, when the topic of the positive vs negative aspects of the Internet come up in a conversation, someone will mention the ease of transfer of information.

    The Internet cuts out the middle men.
    You don't have to be a newspaper editor to create a BLog.
    You don't have to be in a PhD program to write a paper on any topic you want and have it read by a million people.
    You can talk honestly about what is happening in your country and human rights violations and actually be heard by the world.
    You can call government officials to task.
    You can get the truth out there.
    It puts more power into the hands of the people.
    The Internet is like each person having his or her own personal printing press.

    What about the other side of that, however?

    If everyone has their own printing press, it can serve as a deterrent to propaganda and disinformation.
    If everyone has the opportunity to put the truth out there, then people will be more informed and propaganda will be rendered impotent.
    At the same time, EVERYONE has access to the Internet, including the propagandists.
    If everyone has their own printing press, then it makes it that much easier to forge documents.
    With so many sources of information, it makes it that much more difficult to discern what the truth actually is.
    There are AT LEAST as many bogus web sites and documents as there are valid sources of information.

    As technology progresses, people are demanding 24-hour news channels, News on demand on the Internet.
    If a news website is 5 minutes behind the times, they are just about worthless.
    Instant election results. Instant jury decisions. Instant everything.
    I probably knew about the Tsunami in Indonesia before most of the people in India did.

    People are jonesing for information like a junkie shaking and scratching between hits of smack.
    They will get it anywhere they can.
    They will take their chances with it being laced.
    They just want their hit, man!
    Information has become a hot commodity, and people will turn to whoever can fill their spoon cheap and fast and make it entertaining.
    Cheap, Fast and Entertaining.
    Truth is secondary.
    It doesn't matter to people that FOX News sued to win the right to lie to people as long as they aren't libeling or slandering someone.
    AND PEOPLE STILL WATCH IT.

    Regardless of what you want to believe, you will find a website, pundit, book or news organization that will support your point of view.
    If you believe that Martians placed George Bush in office in order to enslave the human race and that stupid fucking box on his back during the debates was a remote control mechanism, you will find supporting evidence.
    Likely you will find MOUNDS of evidence supporting it.
    Take a good look around this site if you have any doubt.

    All those crackpots that used to write letters to NASA...
    They now have their own personal information channel.
    If it is written down somewhere, someone WILL believe it.
    The more professional a website looks (which, lets face it, anyone can get a professional looking website for FREE) the more convincing it will be.

    As we get more and more inundated with conflicting information everywhere we look, we will simply no longer know what to believe anymore.

    People think the "Information Age" will change the course of history with the empowerment of the individual.
    I think it will make the only thing that has ever had any REAL intrinsic value, worthless.
    I think history will see the "Information Age" as what kicked off the second Dark Age.
    That is, if history remembers anything at all.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2005
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  3. PΛRΛDIGM® (¨*·.¸ PΛRΛDIGM ¸.·*¨) Registered Senior Member

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    Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is collected and used. -
     
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  5. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    Many people already show signs of what might be called information overload - too much constant bombardment of facts, data, entertainments, profoundness, trash and just omnipresent multimedia inputs. Short spans of attention, low boredom thresholds and absent-mindedness can, I believe, result from the verbal and visual deluge we receive nearly every waking hour - perhaps also nightmares, sleep disruptions and high stress levels.

    There must come a point when people just switch off, and develop a blind (or deaf) spot for needless information. The variety and quantity of available information may keep growing, but the amount an individual absorbs, or even notices, does not.

    The intrinsic value (financial or personal) of information as such must therefore level off eventually. It will no longer be worth the media industry to expand further, though the content of the various media will continue to change: technological refinements and cultural/artistic evolution will probably proceed indefinitely.

    Information of various kinds may become virtually free (much of it already is) but I doubt it could ever be completely worthless, in the sense of having no value or merit to anyone.
     
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  7. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Information will always be needed.

    Information will be used by those looking for answers to their questions.

    The more information, the more answers to everyones questions which only will bring about more questions and even more information.
     
  8. Lava Let discovery flow Registered Senior Member

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    I think we are a fair way yet from the middle of the information age. It began in Victorian times with the post, then the telegraph, then the telephone, then radio, tv, and now the internet has upped the ante bigly.

    But where next? I think the real information age will occur when any person can know everything there is in the world. THAT is what I call information. And I think it'll happen.

    Computers are ever advancing, at some point an internet terminal will be capable of accessing this kind of level of data. Getting electronics to interface to brain cells has now been done. THeres rather more to it, but to put it very simply, by interfacing the 2, a computer can fill in the the brain's shortcomings, creating hybrid superintelligent humans. Who knows how far that will go, whether in future people will know only 10x as much as today, or whether they will indeed know it all.

    THAT is what I call information age, we're not there yet, by a long way.


    Lava
     
  9. Lava Let discovery flow Registered Senior Member

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  10. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    How do you define "everything there is in the world"? Do you mean the total possible information content of this planet (or, indeed, of the observable Universe?)

    That would, taken literally, mean the precise location and quantum state of every single subatomic particle... no, it will never happen.

    Or perhaps merely the current location and activity of every human being, plus the nature of their immediate environment? I doubt anyone would want to know that much - though it is theoretically possible, if we all carried some kind of visual and audio transceiver in our brains...
     
  11. Lava Let discovery flow Registered Senior Member

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    I was thinking of neither of those 2, but rather the sum of human knowledge.

    Lava
     
  12. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    By your definition, then, it would be every word ever written or printed, every sound ever recorded, every image ever captured, in whatever original medium. And it might well be possible... as for being "worth it," the perceived completion of such a global labour might be enough reward in itself.
     
  13. Lava Let discovery flow Registered Senior Member

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    Nope, try again.
     
  14. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    I think Lava is referring to some sort of device (biological or otherwise) that would facilitate direct communication between living beings and allow all to tap the knowledge contained in all minds.
    A sort of technological equivalent to the Common Subconscious.
     
  15. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    Such an achievement would be a major step towards having a single collective consciousness for the human race... who wants to start telling the Borg jokes?
     
  16. Lava Let discovery flow Registered Senior Member

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    Well, this shows how bad I am at explaining things. What I was suggesting is basically an internet connection direct to the brain, so that a person can look for any info they want any time they want. Walking down the street and wonder what xyz is? Instantly you have your answer.

    Bear in mind that by the time this happens, archiving and searching technology should be way ahead of todays primitive clunky search engines. If you want to know the main theories accepted by scientists on some question, ask. If you want to know how mental patients see it, ask. If you want to know how 4 year olds perceive it, ask. Whatever you want to know will be at your braintips, instantly.

    There are a lot of beneficial knock on consequences of this.


    Lava
     
  17. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    Neural modems, then - brain enhancements which allow anyone to source and exchange information directly, anywhere in the World. It would be a wonderful thing, and a true era of enlightenment. Suppose these modems were implanted in infancy: they could feed a child all requisite knowledge, doing away with the very need for schools!

    If ideas and facts could be passed directly from mind to mind, though, which would be the case with a race of telepaths, it might eventually lead to the abolition of written language - who knows, even of speech itself?
     
  18. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    We could all just sit around and do nothing forever!
    What a wonderful existence!
    (that was sarcastic, by the way)
     
  19. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    No - someone would still have to maintain this global data transfer system, build new modems, make clothes to sit around in... grow food, you know (this is sarcastic too).
     
  20. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    We could farm all that out to third world nations that can't afford the neural modems, duh.

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  21. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    Wouldn't that result in them being able to dictate terms about our entire lives? They could certainly set the price of food, if we rich lotus-eating infojunkies lost the ability to grow our own.
     
  22. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    We would still maintian a cache of weapons, and since they are so poor, they couldn't afford to do the same.
    Plus, we would be MUCH smarter then them.
     
  23. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    I take it back - this would not be an era of enlightenment. It would perpetuate poverty, inequality and privilige: no thanks. Let's give everyone access to the neural modems at the same time, or else just keep them off the market!
     
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