If we are to survive the democratic anarchy that communications technology is bringing about- we all have to take ownership of our world.
Ownership through having knowledge and through knowing other people. Make the world `mine' for all of us not `theirs' or somebody else's.
Helplessness is a state of being out of touch, out of control. Helplessness removes responsibility because you cannot be responsible for what you don't believe you can affect. But the capitalist world we live in is inherently organic and democratic. You always have a range of choices- the drug of democracy.
This is an ignorant democracy. The dollar you spend, the services and products you choose, the politician you vote for do a difference. Yet you cannot make informed choices if you don't know what choices are available, what they really entail.
We need an information environment where everybody has access to (dynamically created) intelligent overviews and hierarchies to the information. This would let us decide for example whether Gulliano's claim of violent crimes rising in New York City was truthful. Access to the Bureau of Censors web page and their online database would have been nice. Ready access to Congress peoples voting records would be nice too. Taking ownership of our elected officials words.
Evolution in the Darwinian sense has for all intents and purposes stopped. Stephen Hawking's picture of our common knowledge as our external DNA highlights the need for better ways to connect to that vast body of knowledge.
The Internet is here. But largely only as a single fact gatherer, not as a dynamic integrated environment. TCP/IP, HTTP and FTP are all transportation protocols, not manipulation protocols.
To bring our species to the next level of evolution, we need organic work spaces to let our thoughts, our ideas, our information flow freely as in our mind. Taking ownership of being able to process information. With Microsoft Windows running Excel and Word being the main spaces we have available today, it's too easy to just complain.
Information needs to be connected to be most valuable to us, otherwise we are just entering an age of digitized, not digital newspapers, digitized movies and digitized faxes, where you can't ask your computer to compare the current state of deforestation in the Amazon rain forest with the way it was 10 years ago. It will be dead information in a living shell. We cannot afford that to let that happen. Taking ownership through connecting.
Beyond telling it to do rote tasks, what is the purpose of the personal computer anyway, what are the potentials and what are the constraints, what is the reality?
It's ancestry of a missile table calculator is as far removed from the current Power Macintosh as amoeba are from us.
I venture to say the personal computer is the space, the environment, where information is presented to us and where we work on this information, or where we create it and disseminate it. That's it. Everything else is secondary. Are the computers of today optimized for this task? Are you kidding?
Information needs to get into our heads if we are to use it. Having books on a bookshelf and intelligent agents is great, but the information has to get into our brain if we are to work with it, make informed decisions based on it.
Information, and us, should flow like liquid.
Then the computer media will serve as both "make aware agents" and "make happen agents". (McLuhan Understanding Media)
Taking ownership is taking responsibility.
"We have be-come irrevocably involved with, and responsible for, each other."
The Medium is The Massage, Marshall McLuhan p 24
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