Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Awakened grains of sand (jonudell.net)
13 points by shawndumas on May 23, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 3 comments



The whole article is based on three premises about human cognition. All three are false. What is clear to me is that many people who engage in "web thinking" as the author calls it have an absurdly caricaturish notion of human thought and interaction before the advent of the internet.

Here are the three premises:

"As hominids we have a million years of experience with the properties and behavior of physical things. And as individuals we have lifetimes of such experience. Based on those experiences, here are some things we know:

1. If I give you a thing then it’s yours until you give it back. We can’t both use it.

2. If I want to make a collection of things, I get a bucket and put things into it. A thing is either in the bucket or it isn’t. The same thing can’t be in two buckets at the same time.

3. If I invite you to work on a project using my collection of things, you have to visit my house."

And here's why they're false:

1. Human beings have had shared spaces and things such as temples, communal dwellings, canals, bridges, roads etc. that many individuals could and did contribute to and improve, and in many cases the whole community could use simultaneously. The internet is not a radical departure in this regard - it's yet another example of the kind of social construct that's as old as our species.

2. So a cardinal can't simultaneously be a member of the category "things that are red" and the category "bird" and the category "animal" - at least that's what the article claims. Apparently this sort of flexible thinking had to wait for the invention of the internet. I'm just awed that anyone is so ignorant of human thought and history to think such a thing, much less commit it to writing and publish it.

3. So people throughout human history never collaborated by writing and exchanging letters, or phone calls. According to the author this never happened until the advent of the internet.

The whole article is wildly hyperbolic and yet another sign that we are caught up in bubble 2.0.


Disappointingly, this is not about micro/nano-robotics, but instead about tagging and virtual collaboration.

I was hoping for more updates on systems like this (linked on HN a while back): http://groups.csail.mit.edu/drl/wiki/index.php?title=Robot_P...


There's a reason why computer science uses abstractions like "data," "memory," and "storage." These terms aren't as ambiguous as the author suggests.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: