Everybody is posting this one, but if you haven’t seen it yet, give it a spin. Its creator, Michael Wesch, is a cultural anthropologist at Kansas. He does a terrific job of communicating a lot of information very quickly (“using high bandwidth” as we geeks like to say) about the evolution of digital media.
In the middle of the clip you see a few quotes from Kevin Kelly’s essay in Wired, We Are the Web. In it, Kelly starts off talking about the Netscape IPO, but ends with a sweeping philosophical flourish. Whether you find the wired world frightening or thrilling, there’s no denying that we are witnessing tectonic shifts in culture and civilization. And you and I both have a front row seat.
Three thousand years from now, when keen minds review the past, I believe that our ancient time, here at the cusp of the third millennium, will be seen as another such era. In the years roughly coincidental with the Netscape IPO, humans began animating inert objects with tiny slivers of intelligence, connecting them into a global field, and linking their own minds into a single thing. This will be recognized as the largest, most complex, and most surprising event on the planet. Weaving nerves out of glass and radio waves, our species began wiring up all regions, all processes, all facts and notions into a grand network. From this embryonic neural net was born a collaborative interface for our civilization, a sensing, cognitive device with power that exceeded any previous invention. The Machine provided a new way of thinking (perfect search, total recall) and a new mind for an old species. It was the Beginning.