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Saturday, December 01, 2007

So I'm not quite sure what to make of what Gibson is saying in that quote that's on the side panel. (If it's been removed, you can read the interview from which it's excerpted here.) If he's saying that "our grandchildren" will fail to distinguish communications made through computers and information obtained through computers from other sorts of communications or information, well, that's just obvious. The substance of the communication or information is what's important, not its source or form, right? I do have some recollection of my parents back in the mid-'90s suggesting that I confirm with a phone call plans I had made through email, not quite seeming to believe that email communications could mean anything serious, but now they plan things with me through email.

On the other hand, if Gibson means that "our grandchildren" will not see a meaningful distinction between things done in some sort of Second Life-type computer program and done in real life, such as the difference between having your avatar go to a dance club versus actually leaving your house, well, then I just can't agree that anyone could fail to make that distinction. As far as I can see, computer communications mostly just better facilitate non-computer-related life. Or am I missing something profound?

Gibson does make some interesting points about nuclear war, though. And little gadgets. The little gadgets comments are pretty interesting. But while we have all these consumer electronics, but the houses we live in are still pretty much the same as decades ago. We still travel in pretty much the same ways. Tiny computers haven't really changed the nature of our lives. Somehow I'm reminded of the Inca, who developed the wheel and then never used it for anything more than children's toys, though I'm not sure how that analogy quite fits.

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