Regarding Tech and Storage, and the idea of ‘finite content’ as an allegory to the ‘end of history’:
Humans are notoriously victims of boiling-the-frog biases: they cannot sense long term changes and discount prior (and forgotten) opinions for current ones. Inter-temporal cognitive biases are legion.
We are going to store increasing amounts of data – nearly endless in quantity. And as that data accumulates we will transform business, social life, and the economy. Think of it along these lines:
We have decreased the transportation cost of content. But in doing so we have reduced the barrier to distributing content. The problem will be whether we become better at the use of the available content, or whether we can synthesize something from all that content, good and bad, and produce another generation of new content. Frankly, as the number of channels with weak or repetitious content demonstrates, we are short of content, and innovative content is becoming very expensive to produce.
Or are we stuck with the same limited number of permutations of our basic narratives, and stuck with the same very large number of human cognitive errors and myths, and destined to live under the eternal problem of pedagogy: the vast number of permutations of the same content needed in order to convey the same 1500 ideas (that’s all there are) to billions of people in hundreds of cultures, all at different ages, at different states of development, each solving different problems in the context of their own individual experiences? Can we produce the conceptual equivalents of the mono-myth is each of our fields of study? Can we simplify pedagogical symbols as if they were fundamental truths, when such truths would be contra-beneficial to some cultures, races, classes, and much more beneficial to others?
As someone who does a painful amount of research, it is vastly easier today to learn anything at all than it was even five years ago. And compared to library-trading obscure works in college, vastly faster. What will come of this availability of information, or rather the frictionless availability of information?
Our accounting standards are a catastrophic block on data collection, because as they exist, they launder causality – accounting as we practice it is the dusty remnant of a bygone age of sea voyages. if we changed to tagged accounting data we would produce volumes of data for mining that cannot be easily found today. What would this mean for data and analysis? Taxation? Policy? Product development? THe structure of the corporation and credit cycles?
There are a number of startups producing hardware that you wear around your neck, and that take photographs every second, and record all sound all day long, creating a visually indexed record of your day. How would a storage system of that nature change the world?
Privacy is changing because we are socializing a new kind of manners wherein everyone is expected to be flawed, or imperfect. How will that change the world?
From a product and service manufacturer’s standpoint, the typical economic analysis using factors of production is antiquated. The primary problem for most companies is to produce a product that is interesting enough to purchase. All other things being equal, today people are purchasing almost entirely aesthetic objects for purely status-seeking and therefore opportunity-seeking purposes. The price of materials is not an issue any more than is the price of food. How is this design-economy accounted for in our models and how does this affect the craft of economics, when the design function is not as visibly a factor of resource costs?
Companies do not measure their brand potential (the sentiment of consumers toward a company and its products and how that sentiment is convertible into revenue) as a form of equity. If investors could see this information, how would that affect management of companies? If it becomes increasingly easy to measure it, how will that affect markets?
In the post war period, social democratic society was unified under a proletariat-and-middle-class system of inclusion-and-status-seeking-through-consumption. Now that the consumer society is ‘saturated’, and status due to ownership is insufficient to provide access to opportunities, (because everything is so cheap) how will people express their identities as purchases?
Each nation state has a different IQ distribution. (If you don’t like the reality of it, I’m sorry.) Since there are material thresholds to the learning of, and use of, abstractions, there appear to be limits at 130’s for designing and using ideas, 122 for designing machines, 110 for a classical education. 105 for repairing machines. How will this affect the markets, demand for technology, or the lack of demand for it?
There is no end of history. The problem of human coordination and cooperation is an endless process of temporal calculation for intert-emporal ambitions. The great revolution in farming took thousands of years to span the globe. The revolution in scientific thinking started by the anglos has only been in process for eight hundred years. The great revolution in production (and calculation) of the Anglos has taken only five hundred so far. But it has been a bloody process of resistance to change.
There is no end of content. Because there is no end of history.
[callout]Because, in the end, the primary purpose of our data collection is political in nature.[/callout]
There are a limited number of fundamental truths available to man. But fundamental truths are not as useful as we think they are. THe coordination of human beings toward shared goals requires that they believe in myths. And truth will only hinder their achievements. Combined with the human drive for status, and the different abilities of men – some less, some more – the permutations of myths (or deceptions) will create similar themes as we have seen in the past, forever. And the media and data used to distribute those infinite permutations will do nothing except increase in scale. ***Because, in the end, the primary purpose of our data collection is political in nature.***
It always has been.