Difference between revisions of "Annotation Not Fiction"

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Latest revision as of 08:21, 9 September 2015

Anil Menon:

Suppose it is 2020 AD and you wake up to find the "website" is as obsolete as dial-up modems. There is no web. The web is everywhere. There is no "site", no locus, no http addresses, no absolute reference frame. You want information, it's simply there.

How did you sleep last night? Better than most of your neighbors, you learn.

Where did that piece of datum come from? Who knows. Well, if you really have time on your hands, you could trace the block-chain of transactions that brought you that specific datum. But that just produces more un-situated information.

Information differs from matter in that it isn't situated anywhere. It can be verified, validated, encrypted, and shared. But it has no locus. Information just has history. If we discover that keeping track of the neighborhood sleep patterns is linked with such-and-such non-profit, well, "where" did that piece of information come from? All information is an annotation on some other piece of information. There's no first turtle, so to speak. Nor is there a last turtle.

The world used to be flat. Thomas de Zengotita puts it this way:

​"​Say your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere—the middle of Saskatchewan, say. You have no radio, no cell phone, nothing to read, no gear to fiddle with. You just have to wait. Pretty soon you notice how everything around you just happens to be there. And it just happens to be there in this very precise but unfamiliar way. You are so not used to this. Every tuft of weed, the scattered pebbles, the lapsing fence, the cracks in the asphalt, the buzz of insects in the field, the flow of cloud against the sky, everything is very specifically exactly the way it is—and none of it is for you.​"​

​But the world isn't flat anymore. Things have the information dimension now. ​We used to collect information in places called websites--- websites, ha ha, what a quaint old word, nostalgia, nostalgia (Google Glass pops a little bubble informing you the hip kids are calling it "past-algia" these days; you blink-damn the datum a vicious thumbs-down, joining 11,400 other people who also hate the tweeny word, not that you care, but Oxford Dictionary does, may they use your blink-datum, please, please, pretty please?).

Point is, you can't help generating information. Everything you do is a potential annotation to some other piece of reality. Even after you're dead, you continue to generate information: the organs you'd donated are monitored by health-care providers, the self-correcting annotations you'd barnacled to things continue to help grateful strangers, updates on your loved ones continue to be regularly farmed out to those who were privileged to know you well. To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die. Who said it? Your dog's collar knows the answer. Harold Robbins, woof woof. You miss your dog. You'd like to dream more often of Rufus, but sleep tech is still a little flaky.