Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Web 3.0 - The Stupiding of the Universe

What is this?

Web 2.0 brought the internet user into the conversation; the internet became less like a card catalog of information and resources and more like a book club; users not only used the content, they also created it (a blessing and a curse that has made vetting websites an absolute necessity and has led some educators to ban Wikipedia from students' "works cited" lists).

So now we have Web 3.0. For technophobes (and techno-wary folks), this is another startling development, but for your six-year old it will be a normal part of everyday life. For me, it is a little Big Brother-ish and almost what the Apple "1984" series of commercials was railing against (and what George Orwell so presciently wrote about:  "Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?... Has it ever occurred to you...that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?... The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness." George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 5)

Think Siri - your own personal digital assistant who customizes your navigation on the internet based on previous searches, activity, games, etc.

In other words, Web 3.0 brings a better web experience to the user for less effort (bold mine).

How could we possibly expend less effort in the pursuit on knowledge than we already do?!  Not to be alarmist, but the decline in our ability to transform and apply knowledge has (anecdotally in my experience) declined drastically in my 12 years of teaching. Web 3.0 makes it so we don't even need to figure out what is true and what are lies - our avatar in the virtual world will handle that for us.

Thankfully, the internet is nearly universal so everyone in the world will be able to particpate in The Stupiding. Won't it be interesting if the internet-free "deprived" areas of the world end up running things simply because they are not as intellectually lazy as we will have become?

(write that down. I am the Nostradamus of 2012. Double-plus good thinking.)

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