29th July 2002 - Critical Processing

As a nice way to spend time in sunny Spain, I have read two books that hold less enthusiastic thoughts of the information and knowledge age:

"The Information Bomb" by Paul Virilio is an epic "poem" about the age of information science, technology, speed and war. Virilio is clearly not an agitator for the widespread adoption of information technology worldwide; rather he spends the pages writing about the information bomb which is the equivalent of the nuclear bomb in the "globalitarian" war of the modern market economy. Truly captivating, Virilio´s work introduces a different dimension in the debate of information technology by involving sources spanning from Pascal, Pope John Paul, Bill Clinton and Kafka.

"The Cult of Information" by Theodore Roszak is also a critical opinion on the information society we all seem to be heading for. However, more than Virilio, Roszak has a more detailed and nuanced view on the problems with the widespread application of computer systems and artificial intelligence. Roszak sees the problems of applying artificial intelligence the human domain of thinking, as well as the database categorization of literature. In both scenarios, the computer will be a slave of the biasness of the programmer, and yet more importantly: the computer will lack the abilities to come up with ideas, since ideas arise not from logic, but from application of more human domains. Roszak supports this by example with many of the failed predictions in the field. In general Roszak seems more optimistic about computer application, yet he shares a critical view of wrongful application where only a few "cult leaders" are the masterminds of the society.

Both books were both inspiring and thought provoking reading.

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Updated 2002-07-29

 
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The official homepage of Morten Middelfart and CALM. Computer Aided Leadership and Management (CALM) is an inspirational speculation on where mankind may be heading in the quest to leverage computer potentials for helping individuals and organizations to self-actualize their symbiotic potentials.

The time frame for this well-informed and provocative speculation on relatively near-term and more distant potentials is clearly within mankind's grasp. Dr. Middelfart argues persuasively that within the next one or two decades, symbiotic links with "intelligent machines" will surely leverage people's potentials, far beyond all human progress to date!

Altogether, a tour de force of well-informed contemporary insights and maturely reasoned speculation; affording possible stepping stones and a creative springboard for what may lie ahead. As has been said: "Man's reach should exceed his grasp; else what's a heaven for?”

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