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Re: [ontolog-forum] memory loss

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Randall R Schulz <rschulz@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 11 Oct 2009 11:28:57 -0700
Message-id: <200910111128.58147.rschulz@xxxxxxxxx>
On Sunday October 11 2009, Paola Di Maio wrote:
> Ravi
> as humans, we err, and as societies, we err in corresponding orders
> of magnitude (there is an opposing argument to collective
> intelligence, which is collective stupidity)
> I am always surprised what humanity has managed to achieve (the
> actual), especially when we compare it to what we manage
> not to achieve (the potential). Amazing to see how far we got, given
> the inherent limitations of our human nature    (01)

The relatively small minority of people with the cognitive abilities and 
proclivities to do science and engineering are enough to move the human 
race forward. With their contributions in circulation, exploitation of 
novel developments is easy and never requires anything like the depth 
of understanding required to realize any given bit of technology (with 
its attendant scientific underpinnings). This is why we have so many 
nasty "side-effects" and "unintended consequences" from our use of 
technology—'cause those who make decisions about using the technologies 
do so with scant understanding of what accompanies those technologies 
and are almost always primarily motivated by their desire to accumulate 
wealth with little regard for other predictable outcomes.    (02)

And, to be honest, even the genuine experts do not and cannot predict 
all of the consequences of a given technology (let alone combinations 
or constellations of technologies), but when the unexpected occurs, 
they're still the ones who have to figure out what's going on but are 
not often the ones who are listened to in figuring out how to respond 
to these unforeseen and undesirable results.    (03)

> ...
> The web (okay, and Google)  is changing everything, including
> allowing this discussion, enabling us to make exponential progress in
> all areas of knowledge (cetainly in my case). For that alone,  I am
> perfectly happy and grateful.    (04)

Let's not overestimate Google's essential contribution to either the 
potential or current state of realization of networked information 
systems. Surely they're big, important players now, but it's largely 
incidental; a "right place at the right time with the right tool" kind 
of thing. That allowed them to jump ahead of their immediate 
predecessors and accumulate a lot of resources that fed their 
phenomenal growth, affording them the opportunity to explore so many 
fields well beyond Web indexing and search.    (05)

> >From here onwards we ll just have to work things out on a daily
> > basis. See what sticks....    (06)

That is not a new state of affairs!    (07)

> P    (08)

Randall Schulz    (09)

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