A Day in the Golden Age of Information


From the cover of Transhumanist Dreams and Dystopian Nightmares by Maxwell J. Mehlman.

For an information-seeker, this is the golden age.  With a simple search, any question can be answered.  With just a click, any wandering thoughts satisfied.  At our disposal is a mind-reader, a spaceship, and a time machine.     Even in terms of the Internet itself, we are in our prime.    Whereas Web 1.0 provided us the world at our fingertips, Web 2.0 opens the Akashic records to all Mankind.

For example, today, as I designed IPR’s Libertarian Party presidential candidates poll at SurveyMonkey, I listened on YouTube to an old country music album I had not heard in over 20 years.  As I listened to the final track on that album, an ancient question came back to mind.  The song title and lyrics referenced a particular date.  That date meant something to me, and I always wondered what it meant to the artist.  I searched Google but found nothing.  Though the album and artist were not obscure in any way, the song had never been released as a single and so was not the subject of much analysis.  I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I found the artist on Facebook and sent him a message.  His manager responded and gave me the answer I sought.  Without even leaving my room, a decades-old question was recalled and answered in less than an hour.

Had I not been living in this golden age of information, all the tasks above would have been nearly impossible.  First, I could not conduct a poll unless I had access to the phone numbers of Libertarian Party members and called each individually to compile data.  This would take a significant amount of time and would not be worthwhile.  Second,  I would not be able to listen to the old country music album unless I searched music shops throughout the area and located one that had it in stock.  I likely would not have made such an effort just to relive an old memory.  Lastly, if I still somehow heard the song and wanted to have my question answered, I’d have to find an address to write a letter to the artist with the strong possibility he would not respond.  I would not go to the trouble.

We are truly lucky to be living at a time like this.  It may be the worst of times for a number of reasons, but it is certainly the best of times when it comes to the flow of information.



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