On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 9:31 AM, doc <doc.wikipedia(a)ntlworld.com> wrote:
Further, I'm no historian of technology.
Read up on it - it is fascinating.
But the lesson surely is that
not much lasts for long.
Some technologies endure, but just change. Telecommunications, for
example. People will always want to communicate, and the telephone
(for example) has changed a lot, but people will hopefully always want
to talk to each other. Ditto pictures. The big revolutions in the
future will likely be around the senses and how we feed input into
them. Not quite brains in a box, but moving in that direction.
Few organisations have been able to dominate
any field for more than a decade or so. (Microsoft is perhaps the
(dis?)honourable exception - and even then.) Today's unassailable
phenomena, which no one can see anyone displacing, is tomorrow's
footnote. BASIC anyone? Sinclair? Plastic records?
I've read that streaming online games and music will replace gaming
consoles and iPods. Might well be true. But then the book has been
The other reason I suspect that Wikipedia's
shelf-life will, in fact, be
shorter than most imagine, is that in the fast-changing evolution that
is the internet, the ability to adapt is critical to survival. The
browser that doesn't update is history. Sadly, for a relatively young
phenomenon, Wikipedia, and particularly en.wp has shown an enormous
conservatism about adapting. An initial winning formula that gave the
breakthrough is regarded as sacred dogma - and a demand for consensus
before change gives the dinosaurs an advantage. At the moment it matters
little, as there is no real competition. But if/when a competitor get
the magic formula right, I doubt Wikipedia has the structures to
Possibly there is no magic formula, only a lot of hard work.
The community hasn't really woken up to the fact
is no longer only an open shelf needing to be stacked, but it is a
depository of a huge wealth of material that needs to be protected,
sorted and (urgently) sifted.
Agreed. Though is it annoying when you see people working on things to
address this, and then see critics, who inspired some people, carry on
criticising the meta-processes, instead of supporting efforts made to
improve those meta-processes. Cynicism on your part, maybe, but please
don't infect people trying to change things.
Alexandria's library didn't fail because it
stopped importing knowledge,
it failed because it was unable to effectively protect the knowledge it
had already acquired.
I thought it got ransacked?
Goodness, they aren't even sure when or how it was destroyed!