Reading Response 4 – Lindsey Luckevich

If you were to give a speech about the state of computer technology today that would be read by someone 25 years from now, what issues would you address and what predictions for the future would you make?

The primary issue I would address is data collection. Postman says too much information can lead to meaninglessness because people don’t know what information is useful. I would respond to Postman’s concerns by discussing the prevalence of databases. Databases contain our information and allow us to selectively search for specific information. We categorize our information and use internal link structures (e.g. wikipedia) to create dynamic spaces where information is presented clearly with visible connections to related ideas. I’d be thrilled if 25 years from now, all academic texts were available in dynamic online formats. I think that meaning, in the sense Postman is talking about, is derived from clear connections between ideas—the greater context. Categorization of information gives the information meaning.

All companies use data systems in their daily operations. An interesting consideration is what types of information are collected and how they are analyzed. What information about computer users are companies collecting and how is this information shaping user experiences? Is this collection of information ethical? Will it continue? Will the internet be completely shaped by corporate analytics in 25 years, or will we liberate ourselves from metadata? I would urge people to think critically about how their browsing habits are being studied. Think critically about the implications of being constantly monitored.

I would talk about net neutrality and freedom of information, specifically the implications of Wikileaks. I think it’s important that everyone have equal access to all parts of the internet, and we need to be cognizant of the risk currently posed to that access. We cannot allow any singular governing force to control internet access. Governments in many countries around the world like China and England use internet blocks to control access. Is this fair? Anyone can create internet content, why can’t anyone access it?

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