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28 May 2008

Connectivity, Transparency and Truth Telling

When HTML was first invented I got really interested in the precursor markup languages and did a bit of research on them. I discovered TeX, GML, SGML and learned how they had been used. Then I started to learn about HTML. It was elegant and simple, almost sparse. An ordinary person like me could develop web pages and connect them to other web pages armed with nothing more complex than a text editor.

But the possibilities and power grew when HTML was coupled with HTTP and TCP/IP. This is where the connections of hypertext were enabled. It was such a revolutionary thought - that it is possible to connect texts which were previously unconnected. Joining up ideas and morphing them into new ideas in ways that are impossible in paper based text. Hypertextuality provided the platform for hyperconnectivity. But where is all this going now?

It is moving towards decentralisation of power and towards transparency because everyone and everything is becoming connected. The mutual interconnectedness of all things is not just an idea anymore, it is becoming a reality.

This means that truth telling is the easiest option. Since, if everything is connected and transparent, falsity will be uncovered. None of this means that we will necessarily transition towards more democratic forms of political organisation. More likely it will organise around current political infrastructures.

Once it is possible to connect ideas, and to thus spark new ideas, other factors come into play. Human factors. We are social animals and behave in certain fairly predictable ways. A really strong drive in humans is the creation of communities or tribes. There has been a growth of social networking and web 2.0 based user generated content capabilities. This enables normal human beings (with little or no technical knowledge) to create content, connect their content to communities and share knowledge and information in new ways.

Once mobile connectivity is mature this tendency towards connection and community will really start a revolution. The possibilities that we see now are only just a glimmer on the horizon.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

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