Ears of another hippopotamus

I’ve observed before that Dave Pollard is prescient. This may be a further demonstration of his powers:

(from Sharing Your Brain: Making Your Hard Drive into a Wiki)

I think the next tipping point will be focused on wikis. We are close to the point where we will no longer have to pick an ‘application’ to create, open or change a document, any more than we have to pick a particular type of writing implement to do so in the physical world. What that will allow us to do is convert our entire hard drive — every document — and all the content we maintain on central servers — every message and blog post, into a single ‘virtual’ wiki, a kind of giant tableau of all our stuff, everything we have created or contributed to, and everything created by others we have filed away or bookmarked or otherwise ‘taken as our own’.

This would be useful, first of all, for personal navigation. Google Desktop is a big help, but it’s still a hunt-and-peck kind of personal content management. A wiki of our ‘universe of knowledge’ with a mind-map-type navigator would allow us to explore and amplify what we know and share with others in a more holistic, powerful way than anything we can do now. It would allow us to ‘get our head around’ everything we know, and care about, everything that has meaning for us. It could literally allow us to ‘expand our minds’.

But — and here’s the really exciting part — it could also allow us to ‘share our brain’ with someone else, to allow someone else to see how we think, and what we think about, and get an idea of the frame of mind that organizes, filters and colours our thoughts. And, if memory becomes cheap enough, we could even ‘subscribe to’ the wikis of those whose thoughts, for whatever personal or professional reason, we care about, and we could then annotate that other person’s ‘brain’, shared consciousness, with our own interpretations, understandings and amplifications, and, if we and that other person were so inclined, we could then share that ‘feedback’ with the person whose thoughts provoked it. A kind of digital, brain-to-brain, dialogue or conversation. What could come of all of this might be some shared spaces, some collective intelligence that two or more people agreed was a synthesis of information, agreement or shared understanding, that they owned in common. So your wiki would then have three ‘flavours’ of content:

  • stuff that you created (more or less) yourself
  • stuff that others created that you have taken for your own, your ‘accepted wisdom’
  • stuff that is ‘shared wisdom’ that you and others have inseparably created in common

We are presumably close to the point where transcriptions of conversations could also be indexed and added to this repository.

Quite a bit to wrap the mind around, and I don’t really see how to get there from here, but this is a posting to put where I can revisit it in weeks or months, and it’s certainly going to affect my scans of emergent wiki technologies and practise. It’s a deal more humane than Ray Kurzweil’s vision of the future in silico.