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213 comments

Dillution, not Pollution (4, Insightful)

Raindance (680694) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650383)

To quote,
"No, banning is not the answer. Because we frequently suffer from the scourge of information pollution, we find it hard to imagine its even deadlier opposite information starvation. I get very annoyed when I hear arguments usually from those who have been educated beyond their intelligence about the virtues of keeping happy, backwards people in ignorance."

I would suggest that he should use the term 'information dillution' rather than 'information pollution' in this case (it seems he's referring to the signal-to-noise issue, which is dillution-based- unless too much information itself is a form of polluting our information reservoirs? Regardless, I'd say let's save that term for real information pollution, i.e. FUD)

As for "I get very annoyed when I hear arguments usually from those who have been educated beyond their intelligence about the virtues of keeping happy, backwards people in ignorance,"
Clarke is clearly a thinker and a powerful rhetoritician. I don't disagree with his conclusion, but I wonder if his powerful rhetoric (i.e. such a broadly applicable, powerful, yet vague criticism) hinders his readers' ability for clear thinking in this example.

RD

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650394)

He shouldn't call it "information dillution" because then he'd be INVENTING WORDS THAT DON'T EXIST.

Re:Dillution, not Pollution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650730)

Thnanks for the tip. Anyone wishing to communicate with this clear thinker can reach him here [mailto] .

Re:Dillution, not Pollution (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650956)

Thanks for giving my email addres to the SPAM spiders your stupid fucker! I swear, I want to bash your head in. Humans suck.

Didn't Arthur C Clarke go loopy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650395)

I seem to remember him throwing his support behind a couple technology fraudsters...

anyhow, I thought he'd gone around the twist.

Yeah, I remember (2, Insightful)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650612)

Something about a global computer network, called the Intersomething and then there was his crazy idea about putting objects in space to bounce communication signals off of, called them saddlelights or some such.

What hokey ideas.

Re:Didn't Arthur C Clarke go loopy? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650749)

Re:Didn't Arthur C Clarke go loopy?

Okay, Okay I know this may seem like trolling, but I assure you it's not. Arthur C. Clarke is currently living in Sri Lanka. Why? Because he apparently likes having sex with young boys and in Sri Lanka there's nothing in the law there to stop one from doing this. Again, this is not a troll, but a fact. And I would be highly suspect of anything such a deviant as this might say.

Re: Sri Lanka (1, Troll)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650887)

Arthur C. Clarke is currently living in Sri Lanka

Are you suggesting that he invite Michael Jackson to live there?

Re: Sri Lanka (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7651000)

>Arthur C. Clarke is currently living in Sri Lanka

>>Are you suggesting that he invite Michael Jackson to live there?


>>>Why not? They don't call him the gloved one for nothing, you know!

Look Who's Talking (4, Funny)

Colonel Cholling (715787) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650397)

I thought "information pollution" was what he did to us when he published that dreadful 3001 book.

Re:Look Who's Talking (1)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650593)

I actually rather enjoyed it. A world with space elevators is a good thing, and I felt that it brought a certain closure to the series.

censorship??!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650407)

what's censorship have to do with this??

Got to love paranoid michael and his lamebrained conclusion-jumping.

Getting Slow Already... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650408)

Humanity will survive information deluge - Sir Arthur C Clarke

05 December 2003

Sir Arthur C Clarke is acknowledged as the greatest living science fiction writer and an outstanding visionary of our times. His writing over the past six decades - more than 100 books, 1,000 articles and short stories - have not only helped humanity find its way in times of rapid change, but also discussed the social and cultural implications of key technologies.

In 1945, while still in his late 20s, he was the first to propose the concept of using a network of satellites in the geo-synchronous orbit for television and telecommunications. His vision became a reality in the mid 1960s, and within a generation, humankind has come to rely critically on the network of comsats placed, in what is now called the Clarke Orbit, some 22,300 miles above the earth.

His science fiction books and science facts have inspired generations of astronauts, scientists and technological innovators. Among them is Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer engineer who invented the World Wide Web, inspired by a Clarke science fiction story ('Dial F for Frankenstein') in his adolescent years.

On the eve of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and days before his 86th birthday, Sir Arthur Clarke spoke with science writer Nalaka Gunawardene at his home in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

You invented satellite communications and inspired the WWW through one of your short stories. Do you wonder about the forces and processes you helped unleash?
As I have pointed out, if I had not proposed the idea of geo-synchronous communications satellites in 1945, some one else would have done so very soon. It was such an obvious concept. I didn't expect to see comsats to become a reality in just two decades. But we as a species have a deep urge to communicate - so if something is technologically feasible, we will accomplish it sooner rather than later. If you doubt this, just think of how fast the Internet has spread.

I sometimes wonder how we spent leisure time before satellite television and Internet came along....and then I realise that I have spent more than half of my life in the 'dark ages'! Satellite television, Internet, mobile phones, email - all these are technological responses to a deep-rooted human desire to communicate and access information. Having achieved unprecedented progress in the field of communications during the past half century, we now have to pause to think of social, cultural and intellectual implications of what we have created.

You have been an ardent supporter of using satellite television for education and information. Do you see today's satellite channels fulfilling these expectations?
I have no doubt at all that television is the most marvellous medium of communication ever invented - it can be used to educate, inform, entertain and even inspire. But it's a mixed blessing and much of television content rightfully earns the medium its dubious label, the 'Great Wasteland'.

But I'm not impressed by the attacks on television because of some truly dreadful programmes. I believe that every TV programme has some educational content. The cathode ray tube - and now the plasma screen - is a window to the world. Often it may be a very murky window, but I've slowly come to the conclusion that, on balance, even bad TV is preferable to no TV at all.

Obviously, we need to work very hard to improve the content of television programmes. Not too long ago, I had the enjoyable task of using satellite links to address both Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner (though not at the same time!). I gave them some advice on the use and misuse of satellite TV.

Recalling that many years ago, a British Prime Minister had accused newspaper magnates of enjoying 'the privilege of the harlot throughout the ages - power without responsibility', I said today, the TV screen is more powerful than newsprint, and whatever the bean-counters may say, responsibility should always be the bottom line.

Do you advocate stricter regulation of satellite television and the Internet?
I think it is technologically impossible for any one government to (directly) control, let alone ban, transmissions coming from earth orbit. Some countries have banned personal satellite dish antennas, others have experimented with Internet blocking, but in the long term, people will find ingenious ways to circumvent these controls.

No, banning is not the answer. Because we frequently suffer from the scourge of information pollution, we find it hard to imagine its even deadlier opposite - information starvation. I get very annoyed when I hear arguments - usually from those who have been educated beyond their intelligence - about the virtues of keeping happy, backwards people in ignorance.

On the idea of keeping television out, let me quote from an unexpected source. During the late 1950s, South Africa was the only wealthy country in the world that did not have a national television service. The minister in charge of broadcasting adamantly refused to permit one. "Television will mean the end of the white man in Africa," he said. That was an extremely perceptive remark. From his point of view, the minister was perfectly right.

If the pen is mightier than the sword, the camera can be mightier than both. No wonder that all governments, whether they are liberal or otherwise, make some attempt to control - or manipulate - what appears on television. But comsats and Internet have made it a lot harder for governments to engage in censorship.

Are you completely opposed to any form of censorship?
Censorship is a complex phenomenon, and it is difficult to pass a generalised judgement on it. There are instances when, in the interests of the majority, some censorship may be used for a period of time. Indeed, there is material which virtually everyone would agree should be kept out. Sadistic pornography, incitement to violence against racial or ethnic minorities are just two examples.

But we cannot strive for an information society without allowing the free flow of information which is a pre-requisite. We just have to become better managers, navigators and users of information - let's just say we need information maturity.

The Information Age has opened many doors for our eager minds to explore. Now the question is not so much 'What information do I want?' as 'What information do I not want?'. Never before in our history have we been able to enjoy such a tremendous amount of that simple human freedom - choice.

We are now faced with the responsibility of discernment. Just as our ancestors quickly realised that no one was going to force them to read the entire library of a thousand books, we are now overcoming the initial alarm at the sheer weight of available information - and coming to understand that it is not the information itself that determines our future, only the use we can make of it.

So you are confident that humanity will survive the current deluge of information? Undoubtedly. There are many who are genuinely alarmed by the immense amount of information available to us through the Internet, television and other media. To them, I can offer little consolation other than to suggest that they put themselves in the place of their ancestors at the time the printing press was invented. 'My God,' they cried, 'now there could be as many as a thousand books. How will we ever read them all?'

Strangely, as history has shown, our species survived that earlier deluge of information, and some say, even advanced because of it. I am not so much concerned with the proliferation of information as the purpose for which it is used. Technology carries with it a responsibility that we are obliged to consider.

What about the Digital Divide that ICTs have helped create?
A major concern is that not every one of us benefits equally from these technologies. The communications revolution has bypassed tens of millions of people, and something needs to be done about it.

We are now reaching the point in our technological evolution when we can - and must - commit more time and resources to solving the problems of poverty, deprivation and inequality.

Virtually everything we wish to do in the field of communications is now technologically possible. The only limitations are financial, legal or political. In time, I am sure, most of these will also disappear - leaving us with only limitations imposed by our own morality.

Do you really expect today's political and business leaders to make morally correct decisions and choices?
Well, let's hope they do, in everybody's interest! I have often described myself as an optimist. I used to believe that the human race had a 51 per cent chance of survival. Since the end of the Cold War, I have revised this estimate to between 60 and 70 per cent. I have great faith in optimism as a philosophy, if only because it offers us the opportunity of self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Information Age offers much to mankind, and I would like to think that we will rise to the challenges it presents. But it is vital to remember that information - in the sense of raw data - is not knowledge; that knowledge is not wisdom; and that wisdom is not foresight. But information is the first essential step to all of these.

Isn't there a danger that technological tools can mesmerise decision-makers into believing that gadgets can fix all problems?
Indeed. ICTs should be part of a wider solution that needs to be applied with care and caution. Information and communications technologies should be part of the solution, and not the only solution.

There have always been disparities in this world - the digital divide is just the latest manifestation. I think we need to take a few steps back from the digital hype and first try to bridge the 'Analog Divide' that has for so long affected the less endowed communities and countries.

A computer in every classroom is a noble goal - provided there is a physical classroom in the first place. A multimedia computer with Internet connectivity is of little use in a school with leaking roofs - or with no roof at all. The top priorities in such cases are to have the basic infrastructure and adequate teachers.

And we have to be careful that we don't create new problems while solving existing problems. The information age has been driven and dominated by technopreneurs - a small army of 'geeks' who have reshaped our world faster than any political leader has ever done. And that was the easy part. We now have to apply these technologies in saving lives, improving livelihoods and lifting millions of people out of squalor, misery and suffering. In other words, our focus must now move from the geeks to the meek.

What technological improvements do you anticipate in the near future in ICTs?
It is difficult to think of anything we won't be able to do in ICTs in the near future - when all our current hardware is linked together with orbiting constellations of satellites. Of course, as memory and bandwidths continue to increase, we will be able to do the same functions faster and better, but some bottlenecks need to be sorted out.

I see voice recognition as the next major step forward - which will also overcome current limitations of literacy and make ICTs truly accessible to millions of people.

Voice recognition systems that are now coming into use enable users to bypass the keyboard and dictate inputs directly. But these systems still have some limitations: while they are very valuable for those working alone, imagine the chaos that a whole officeful of talkers could produce!

Besides, the software has to cope with a huge diversity of accents in which the same language is spoken. I cannot resist quoting from my own first attempts to train one of the best current systems. When I said, 'Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party,' the programme revealed its impressive vocabulary with a startling display of political incorrectness: 'Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of apartheid.'

But it's only a matter of time before this capability will improve and VR applications will proliferate. Better and more sensitive voice recognition systems will iron out current difficulties and make us less dependent on keyboards. What lies beyond - direct inputs to the brain?
Yes, the ultimate input-output device would bypass all the body's sense organs and provide signals directly into the brain. Exactly how this would be done I leave to biotechnicians to figure out, but in 3001: The Final Odyssey, I described precisely such a device, which I called the 'Braincap'. One factor that might delay its general adoption is that the wearer would probably have to be completely bald to use the tightly fitting helmet. So wig-making could become really big business in a few decades....

Finally, as a writer, how do you see ICTs changing the way we use language?
The changes are more pervasive and more dramatic than we realise. I don't do text messaging on mobile phones, but understand that it has already given rise to a whole new set of abbreviations in English!

Computers have introduced words and phrases into our language, which would have been utterly meaningless only a few decades ago. Could your grandparents have understood your anguished cry "My laptop has crashed?" And what would they have made of `megabytes', `hard drives', `back-ups' or 'Googling?'

Take, for example, the principal current use of the word 'boot'. According to IT legend, the noun 'boot' was transformed into a verb when it became necessary to kick a recalcitrant computer in the right spot.

And here is another example of a familiar word which has changed its meaning completely - what would an early twentieth century mother have thought if you told her that her grandchildren would be spending most of their waking hours - at work and at play - fondling a mouse?

Re:Getting Slow Already... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650436)

And here is another example of a familiar word which has changed its meaning completely - what would an early twentieth century mother have thought if you told her that her grandchildren would be spending most of their waking hours - at work and at play - fondling CmdrTaco's cock and balls or eating out Hemos' asshole?

Nice one!

Already slashdottted... (1, Interesting)

haxor.dk (463614) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650412)

But anyway, I can add my sentiments to the debate. Information pollution ? About time we bring this up.

Does the world really need that every peon around the world has his or her own web page with rants raves, and pictures of cats/gerbils/whatever ?

Do WE need it ? Sure, freedom of speech, expression and open communications, but...

I wonder how Google will tackle it when every human being on this planet is online with its own web page. Ouch.

Re:Already slashdottted... (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650434)

Does the world need twinkies and B-movies? Nyet. But nonetheless we have them. Do twinkies and B-movies hurt anyone? Only those who choose to partake of them. Ditto for blogs and pictures of open, cavernous rectums.

Re:Already slashdottted... (1)

Neop2Lemus (683727) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650560)

I agree with you. The vast majority, and by that I mean, pretty much everyone except a few geniuses, in every generation, have very little of any importance to say (This list would include me). That is why I don't run a webpage.

Infomation polution is a fallacy, just ignore it or change the channel; enviromental pollution is a problem.

Re:Already slashdottted... (5, Insightful)

Kennric (22093) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650852)

I don't mean to insult you personally, but I must take issue with that argument. It's idiotic, and I get sick of hearing it.

Personal pages are important and necessary, and they embody what the web is meant to be - a commons where anyone can communicate anything with anyone. A lousy web page demands no more bandwidth than it should, if its lousy, no one looks. They don't pollute good search engines, either, because good search engines index pages by how relevant is the information they contain (ok, I know thats an ideal, but the flaw is a flaw in the search engine, not the number of personal pages). I frequently find answers to technical questions in small blogs and personal web pages. I don't see bad poems or cat pictures, because I don't search for them.

Just to drive the point home, think about what it would take to 'fix' this 'problem'.

Let only geniuses put up web pages? Ok, who decides who is a genius, who vetts what is good content and what isn't? Corporations? Governemnts? Comittees? How do you enforce it, a web page license? Who issues it?

I think what you are looking for is not the Internet, but TV, where content is vetted and professionally produced, and delivered in easy to consume chunks.

The Internet is not a content delivery medium, it is a communications medium, and that means people communicating, whatever they damn well want to whoever will listen. And it has to be open to every idiot with a bad poem, too, because the alternative is for it to just becomes a one-way delivery system. You should revel and delight in the existance of personal web pages, they are a good and healthy sign of a properly functioning communications medium. Revel and delight in the fact that you can toss one up if you want, when you do have something to say - even if no one really cares what you have to say.

Futhermore, you don't have to look at anything on the web you don't want to, you don't even have to skip past it, or setup a filter to block it. Thats a glorious and amazing thing, think about it. Everyone on the world with access to a computer can toss anything they want into the pool of information, absolutely anything. And how much does this affect you finding or reading Slashdot? At the same time, if you want, you can read any one of those endless bits of information flying around, the bad poem, the cat picture, the firsthand account of the bombing in Bagdad. This would not be possible in any scheme where content was vetted, licensed or controlled.

Sigh. Sorry for the rant, just pisses me off when people think bad web pages are the web's big problem, when the alternative is corporate/government controlled content-delivery.

Anyway, I commend you on not putting a web page up if you have nothing to say. If only 1 person wants to read it, though, a web page is worth putting up, and if no one does, then putting it up isn't hurting the millions who aren't reading it.

Do we NEED any of it? No, you NEED nothing more than water, air, food and shelter. So destroy everythign that isn't food, water, air, shelter? Sheesh.

Re:Already slashdottted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650889)

+5 Insightful!

Smart guy! :) (5, Interesting)

liveD ehT (662508) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650421)

"Q: Do you advocate stricter regulation of satellite television and the Internet?"
"A: I think it is technologically impossible for any one government to (directly) control, let alone ban, transmissions coming from earth orbit."

So, even though Sir Arthur C Clarke came from a time far before ours, when strict regulations were required to "keep everyone from going mad with Communism", he still has the enlightenment he did then.

If I was in control, I would try and find ways to get more Sir Arthur C Clarkes running around planet earth, not how to tie the world in knots with controls, regulations and dubious money-making schemes.

It's wonderful that he suggests humanity will survive the information age, but unclear to me if this is the case, because I'm mostly a cynic.

Re:Smart guy! :) (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650500)

And an original Freethinker. Who else remembers Arthur C Clarkes Mysterious World? Not only has the guy got his feet on the ground as an engineer and physicist he dares to dream and ask 'what if?'.

Yes, now that the world is being taken over by the Golgafrinchams (the useless third who neither think nor do, but impose themselves as middlemen and regulators) we need more A.C.Clarkes more than ever.

Re:Smart guy! :) (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7651096)

If I was in control
not how to tie the world in knots with controls


So you'd control the world into not being controlled , eh?

From the article: (5, Funny)

IANAL(BIAILS) (726712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650423)

even bad TV is preferable to no TV at all
I don't know... has he seen what the networks are showing these days???

Re:From the article: (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650475)

I think so because in the next paragraph, he continues by saying: "Obviously, we need to work very hard to improve the content of television programmes."

Re:From the article: (2, Insightful)

npistentis (694431) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650483)

You'd BETTER not be badmouthing such gems as Joe Millionaire: A foreign affair or Rich Girls, right??? I can't believe anyone would even insinuate such a foolish premise like "information pollution." Simply inconceivable...

Re:From the article: (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650521)

You must not forget American Idol, For Love or Money, and all the other reality shows. Complete utter garbage!

Re:From the article: (0, Flamebait)

Neop2Lemus (683727) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650575)

Yeah, I mean he's a brilliant fiction writer and all, but, well, I guess, this just affirms that he writes fiction well.

Re:From the article: (3, Insightful)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650650)

He doesn't just write fiction well, his fiction conveys ideas and thoughts that motivates the world to achieve the technological wonders we're in, while warning us to be on guard of the dark-side of those wonders. Many author writes fictions well, but Arthur C. Clark writes fictions that changes the world.

Re:From the article: (1)

Neop2Lemus (683727) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650724)

I didn't mean to belittle Clarke w/ that comment; I've been a fan of his for years. But I was surprised when he said that any TV was better than no TV. That is something I must disagree with but I'm not sure why.

I guess, while rubbish can teach you that there are other people and cultures in the world, it is far better to wait and meet an actual , real person and to formulate views on the outside world based on them rather than the mass-produced garbage their culture may spew out.

Re:From the article: (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650632)

I watch mostly public broadcast, less trash, more goodies, but still got trash.

We shouldn't regulate communications (5, Interesting)

Wigfield (730339) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650425)

Well, not most of the time, anyway. I see the point he's trying to make, but the most important thing to do, in my opinion, is to provide means for people to escape this dredge of unwanted information (particularly advertising) if they so choose. This is why I strongly support the use and people's right to use ad-blockers and the like on the internet. Now, there is *one* thing I think needs to be heavily regulated, maybe even banned -- billboards. They make the road ugly, you can't escape them, and they might even contribute to increasing the rate of car accidents. (ie, plowing into a tree while gazing at a hooters ad...)

Re:We shouldn't regulate communications (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650445)

Check this article out on how billboards pollute the mental environment:
http://www.stayfreemagazine.org/adma p/howardgossag e.html

Re:We shouldn't regulate communications (1)

not_anne (203907) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650719)

I think there needs to be ad blocking built into the TVs themselves. If ad blocking was in TVs (replace ads with a black screen and no sound maybe) I'd actually go out and buy a TV today. Right now I watch TV via downloading the shows I want to see from Bittorrent (already ad free!).

Heck, I'd pay $20 a month to get TV without ads. Ads are the one thing preventing me from watching TV. Well, that and the crappy programming.

not_anne

Re:We shouldn't regulate communications (3, Informative)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650818)

So basically a TiVo (or similar, since TiVo apparently adds ads now) built into a TV, then?

Or maybe you should get a TV capture card and run furious_tv [sourceforge.net] . That's what I did.

FIlter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650430)

Its called a filter use it and stop yer crying.

Its like players in multiplayer games crying "DONT FUCKING SWEAR"" yet they have a language filter. Go use it.

Already Pounded to Oblivion (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650440)

Humanity will survive information deluge - Sir Arthur C Clarke
Nalaka Gunawardene
OneWorld South Asia
05 December 2003

Sir Arthur C Clarke is acknowledged as the greatest living science fiction writer and an outstanding visionary of our times. His writing over the past six decades - more than 100 books, 1,000 articles and short stories - have not only helped humanity find its way in times of rapid change, but also discussed the social and cultural implications of key technologies.

In 1945, while still in his late 20s, he was the first to propose the concept of using a network of satellites in the geo-synchronous orbit for television and telecommunications. His vision became a reality in the mid 1960s, and within a generation, humankind has come to rely critically on the network of comsats placed, in what is now called the Clarke Orbit, some 22,300 miles above the earth.

His science fiction books and science facts have inspired generations of astronauts, scientists and technological innovators. Among them is Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer engineer who invented the World Wide Web, inspired by a Clarke science fiction story ('Dial F for Frankenstein') in his adolescent years.

On the eve of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and days before his 86th birthday, Sir Arthur Clarke spoke with science writer Nalaka Gunawardene at his home in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

You invented satellite communications and inspired the WWW through one of your short stories. Do you wonder about the forces and processes you helped unleash?
As I have pointed out, if I had not proposed the idea of geo-synchronous communications satellites in 1945, some one else would have done so very soon. It was such an obvious concept. I didn't expect to see comsats to become a reality in just two decades. But we as a species have a deep urge to communicate - so if something is technologically feasible, we will accomplish it sooner rather than later. If you doubt this, just think of how fast the Internet has spread.

I sometimes wonder how we spent leisure time before satellite television and Internet came along....and then I realise that I have spent more than half of my life in the 'dark ages'! Satellite television, Internet, mobile phones, email - all these are technological responses to a deep-rooted human desire to communicate and access information. Having achieved unprecedented progress in the field of communications during the past half century, we now have to pause to think of social, cultural and intellectual implications of what we have created.

You have been an ardent supporter of using satellite television for education and information. Do you see today's satellite channels fulfilling these expectations?
I have no doubt at all that television is the most marvellous medium of communication ever invented - it can be used to educate, inform, entertain and even inspire. But it's a mixed blessing and much of television content rightfully earns the medium its dubious label, the 'Great Wasteland'.

But I'm not impressed by the attacks on television because of some truly dreadful programmes. I believe that every TV programme has some educational content. The cathode ray tube - and now the plasma screen - is a window to the world. Often it may be a very murky window, but I've slowly come to the conclusion that, on balance, even bad TV is preferable to no TV at all.

Obviously, we need to work very hard to improve the content of television programmes. Not too long ago, I had the enjoyable task of using satellite links to address both Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner (though not at the same time!). I gave them some advice on the use and misuse of satellite TV.

Recalling that many years ago, a British Prime Minister had accused newspaper magnates of enjoying 'the privilege of the harlot throughout the ages - power without responsibility', I said today, the TV screen is more powerful than newsprint, and whatever the bean-counters may say, responsibility should always be the bottom line.

Do you advocate stricter regulation of satellite television and the Internet?
I think it is technologically impossible for any one government to (directly) control, let alone ban, transmissions coming from earth orbit. Some countries have banned personal satellite dish antennas, others have experimented with Internet blocking, but in the long term, people will find ingenious ways to circumvent these controls.

No, banning is not the answer. Because we frequently suffer from the scourge of information pollution, we find it hard to imagine its even deadlier opposite - information starvation. I get very annoyed when I hear arguments - usually from those who have been educated beyond their intelligence - about the virtues of keeping happy, backwards people in ignorance.

On the idea of keeping television out, let me quote from an unexpected source. During the late 1950s, South Africa was the only wealthy country in the world that did not have a national television service. The minister in charge of broadcasting adamantly refused to permit one. "Television will mean the end of the white man in Africa," he said. That was an extremely perceptive remark. From his point of view, the minister was perfectly right.

If the pen is mightier than the sword, the camera can be mightier than both. No wonder that all governments, whether they are liberal or otherwise, make some attempt to control - or manipulate - what appears on television. But comsats and Internet have made it a lot harder for governments to engage in censorship.

Are you completely opposed to any form of censorship?
Censorship is a complex phenomenon, and it is difficult to pass a generalised judgement on it. There are instances when, in the interests of the majority, some censorship may be used for a period of time. Indeed, there is material which virtually everyone would agree should be kept out. Sadistic pornography, incitement to violence against racial or ethnic minorities are just two examples.

But we cannot strive for an information society without allowing the free flow of information which is a pre-requisite. We just have to become better managers, navigators and users of information - let's just say we need information maturity.

The Information Age has opened many doors for our eager minds to explore. Now the question is not so much 'What information do I want?' as 'What information do I not want?'. Never before in our history have we been able to enjoy such a tremendous amount of that simple human freedom - choice.

We are now faced with the responsibility of discernment. Just as our ancestors quickly realised that no one was going to force them to read the entire library of a thousand books, we are now overcoming the initial alarm at the sheer weight of available information - and coming to understand that it is not the information itself that determines our future, only the use we can make of it.

So you are confident that humanity will survive the current deluge of information?
Undoubtedly. There are many who are genuinely alarmed by the immense amount of information available to us through the Internet, television and other media. To them, I can offer little consolation other than to suggest that they put themselves in the place of their ancestors at the time the printing press was invented. 'My God,' they cried, 'now there could be as many as a thousand books. How will we ever read them all?'

Strangely, as history has shown, our species survived that earlier deluge of information, and some say, even advanced because of it. I am not so much concerned with the proliferation of information as the purpose for which it is used. Technology carries with it a responsibility that we are obliged to consider.

What about the Digital Divide that ICTs have helped create?
A major concern is that not every one of us benefits equally from these technologies. The communications revolution has bypassed tens of millions of people, and something needs to be done about it.

We are now reaching the point in our technological evolution when we can - and must - commit more time and resources to solving the problems of poverty, deprivation and inequality.

Virtually everything we wish to do in the field of communications is now technologically possible. The only limitations are financial, legal or political. In time, I am sure, most of these will also disappear - leaving us with only limitations imposed by our own morality.

Do you really expect today's political and business leaders to make morally correct decisions and choices?
Well, let's hope they do, in everybody's interest! I have often described myself as an optimist. I used to believe that the human race had a 51 per cent chance of survival. Since the end of the Cold War, I have revised this estimate to between 60 and 70 per cent. I have great faith in optimism as a philosophy, if only because it offers us the opportunity of self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Information Age offers much to mankind, and I would like to think that we will rise to the challenges it presents. But it is vital to remember that information - in the sense of raw data - is not knowledge; that knowledge is not wisdom; and that wisdom is not foresight. But information is the first essential step to all of these.

Isn't there a danger that technological tools can mesmerise decision-makers into believing that gadgets can fix all problems?
Indeed. ICTs should be part of a wider solution that needs to be applied with care and caution. Information and communications technologies should be part of the solution, and not the only solution.

There have always been disparities in this world - the digital divide is just the latest manifestation. I think we need to take a few steps back from the digital hype and first try to bridge the 'Analog Divide' that has for so long affected the less endowed communities and countries.

A computer in every classroom is a noble goal - provided there is a physical classroom in the first place. A multimedia computer with Internet connectivity is of little use in a school with leaking roofs - or with no roof at all. The top priorities in such cases are to have the basic infrastructure and adequate teachers.

And we have to be careful that we don't create new problems while solving existing problems. The information age has been driven and dominated by technopreneurs - a small army of 'geeks' who have reshaped our world faster than any political leader has ever done. And that was the easy part. We now have to apply these technologies in saving lives, improving livelihoods and lifting millions of people out of squalor, misery and suffering. In other words, our focus must now move from the geeks to the meek.

What technological improvements do you anticipate in the near future in ICTs?
It is difficult to think of anything we won't be able to do in ICTs in the near future - when all our current hardware is linked together with orbiting constellations of satellites. Of course, as memory and bandwidths continue to increase, we will be able to do the same functions faster and better, but some bottlenecks need to be sorted out.

I see voice recognition as the next major step forward - which will also overcome current limitations of literacy and make ICTs truly accessible to millions of people.

Voice recognition systems that are now coming into use enable users to bypass the keyboard and dictate inputs directly. But these systems still have some limitations: while they are very valuable for those working alone, imagine the chaos that a whole officeful of talkers could produce!

Besides, the software has to cope with a huge diversity of accents in which the same language is spoken. I cannot resist quoting from my own first attempts to train one of the best current systems. When I said, 'Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party,' the programme revealed its impressive vocabulary with a startling display of political incorrectness: 'Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of apartheid.'

But it's only a matter of time before this capability will improve and VR applications will proliferate. Better and more sensitive voice recognition systems will iron out current difficulties and make us less dependent on keyboards.

What lies beyond - direct inputs to the brain?
Yes, the ultimate input-output device would bypass all the body's sense organs and provide signals directly into the brain. Exactly how this would be done I leave to biotechnicians to figure out, but in 3001: The Final Odyssey, I described precisely such a device, which I called the 'Braincap'. One factor that might delay its general adoption is that the wearer would probably have to be completely bald to use the tightly fitting helmet. So wig-making could become really big business in a few decades....

Finally, as a writer, how do you see ICTs changing the way we use language?
The changes are more pervasive and more dramatic than we realise. I don't do text messaging on mobile phones, but understand that it has already given rise to a whole new set of abbreviations in English!

Computers have introduced words and phrases into our language, which would have been utterly meaningless only a few decades ago. Could your grandparents have understood your anguished cry "My laptop has crashed?" And what would they have made of `megabytes', `hard drives', `back-ups' or 'Googling?'

Take, for example, the principal current use of the word 'boot'. According to IT legend, the noun 'boot' was transformed into a verb when it became necessary to kick a recalcitrant computer in the right spot.

And here is another example of a familiar word which has changed its meaning completely - what would an early twentieth century mother have thought if you told her that her grandchildren would be spending most of their waking hours - at work and at play - fondling a mouse?

One of the best quotes EVER... (5, Insightful)

f1ipf10p (676890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650447)

From the article:

"But it is vital to remember that information - in the sense of raw data - is not knowledge; that knowledge is not wisdom; and that wisdom is not foresight."

Arthur C. Clarke

Re:One of the best quotes EVER... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650687)

haha, great one.

I agree with the first 3 but the last one I have a problem with. Wisdom is not foresight? Too fine a line to draw there.

But anyway...

and a great example, censorship. (5, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650912)

But it is vital to remember that information - in the sense of raw data - is not knowledge; that knowledge is not wisdom; and that wisdom is not foresight

Oh, that's good. I like most of the rest of what he has to say too, but let's exercise some foresight about this:

There are instances when, in the interests of the majority, some censorship may be used for a period of time. Indeed, there is material which virtually everyone would agree should be kept out. Sadistic pornography, incitement to violence against racial or ethnic minorities are just two examples.

Everyone would not agree about that, Mr. Clark. Such reasoning and mechanisms can be used against anything. What exactly constitutes non-sadistic pornogrpahy? Why stop at incitement against minority populations? It's just as wrong for me to shoot a white boy in Kansas as it is for me to shoot a black girl in Mississippi isn't it? Porn by it's very nature invites us to violate those it portrays as objects. The mechanisms you might use to filter information for me will obviously be used more than eliminate more than violent porn. Electronic media can offer the censor far greater power then any previous media and great caution must be used in any kind of censorship of it. If the poster of violent porn can be tracked down and punished, so can the publisher of unpopular political opinions and media that has no anonymous publishing will never be free. This is far more harmful than burning libraries and smashing printing presses because it can happen transparently.

I may not agree with what you say, but I'll fight for your right to say it. The only way to disprove bad ideas is for them to be as freely available as others. It is up to each of us to chose what we will or will not listen too. The crime is not in the saying or the hearing, the crime is in the doing. Words, while they may sting, never broke a bone. The only kind of censorship that's ever justified is the traditional kind, simply saying "that is wrong."

Behaviors not words should be forbiden. It is wrong to asault someone, especially in a sadistic sexual way - that's called rape and it's a crime. A film that gloifies rape is stupid and wrongheaded, but it's not a crime.

As another poster pointed out [slashdot.org] , the problems we face in media are not the fault of too much freedom, they are the result of too many restrictions. Gargage TV exists not because there are too many networks, but because there are too few that feel no need to compete. Cable TV, though pricy, has brough competition and improved programming and the reagular broadcaseters are falling behind in the ratings sytems. People are attracted to "nitch" programs such as TechTV, the History Channel, the Learning Channel and all that other good stuff that leaves daytime trash talk without an audience. The more repulsive the regular broadcasters cynically make their content, the faster they push away their audience. Further competition among cable and internet providers would only make things better. Censorship is the friend and tool of those who would not compete.

Gore? (1, Funny)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650451)

"His science fiction books and science facts have inspired generations of astronauts, scientists and technological innovators. Among them is Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer engineer who invented the World Wide Web..."

I thought that was Al... Oh, never mind!

Re:Gore? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650495)

*sighs*

1) Not funny

2) If it were ever funny, it would have ceased to be funny a LONG time ago, perhaps at the point at which AL GORE DROPPED OUT OF NATIONAL POLITICS

3) Al Gore never said he invented the internet. He made a poorly phrased comment which IN CONTEXT meant that AMONG THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, he was the one who showed the most initiative in involving himself in the creation of the internet. This is, in fact, true.

How many feminists does it take to screw in a .... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650804)

...lightbulb?
Thats not funny!
Yeah funny how you "liberals" became the square morally uptight establishment you used to rail against.Probably that big old streak of Stalinism just creeped up and took over.
I should remember to praise GOD that your hold on power is fading.

Re:How many feminists does it take to screw in a . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650845)

What does that have to do with anything? In fact, what does it mean?

Re:How many feminists does it take to screw in a . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650908)

Its a lightbulb joke one of the best.
"How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"
answer in a strident scolding offended tone
"Thats NOT funny!"
get it?

Mod -3 humorless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650871)

Yeah the parent wasn't very funny but c'mon.
I think this total lack of a sense of humor thing is killing those of a leftist persuasion culturally as well as politically.

My definition! (2, Insightful)

fabio (78385) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650459)

i would define information pollution as all that info you dont really need to know! sometimes it is fun (http://theonion.com) and sometimes is just straight boring (too many sites to list!)

whats your definition?

Re:My definition! (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650681)

"i would define information pollution as all that info you dont really need to know!"

I'd say goatse is most definately in that category...

Remember, guns don't kill people (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650469)

Information kills people

Re:Remember, guns don't kill people (1)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650682)

I suppose you're right that guns don't kill people, injuries sustained from bullets are the more likely culprit...

But information? Other than people with mania who try to read every book ever written on a subject and starve after spending all night studying for my psychology exam tomorrow while forgetting to eat meals, I don't think information is commonly a killer.

I'm not questioning your comment (which I perceived as a joke), but more the reason that it has been modded insightful.

Re:Remember, guns don't kill people (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650698)

Lack of information also kills people. So it goes both way.

Arthur C Clarke (-1, Flamebait)

Temjin (254851) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650470)

Is a big homo. Seriously, he loves taking it up the ass. Man I fucking hate homos. Goddamn fudgepackers. Why can't they all die? Along with the hindus, chinks, and niggers. Nobody likes niggers. They just steal shit, and lay around thinking of more shit they could be stealing.

Back to arthur c clarke, I once heard he's so gay that even normal gay people are scared of him because his gayness is so overpowering that he can literally rip apart people's assholes just by thinking about it. He's been known to rape little boys soley with his mind! Man I hate that Arthur. I bet one day he's gonna realize how gay he is and kill himself. When he does, I hope he takes at least one chink and nigger to the grave with him.

So, anyhow, Slashdot dorks are pretty ugly. I hear they like men. They aim for the 'dot', or aka, the asshole. The asshole of other men that is. Because they're gay. Gay like you. Fucking homo. Ghomo.

Mod parent up (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650486)

This needs to be visible as an example of information pollution.

Thanks!

Re:Mod parent up (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650504)

You're a homo. Go back to coding gay porn, you interweb faggot. Insightful my ass. Your comment is about as useful as that dildo hanging out of your butt.

Re:Mod parent up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650548)

you can code gay porn?

examples plz!

-Alan Turing

clarke in favor of: information, sri lankan boys (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650477)

Although perhaps not in that order.

ah, the simple joys of accusing science fiction writers of being pedophiles

Re:clarke in favor of: information, sri lankan boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650847)

Uma Thurman is not a science fiction writer!

He's got a point (3, Funny)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650511)

Indeed, there is material which virtually everyone would agree should be kept out. Sadistic pornography, incitement to violence against racial or ethnic minorities are just two examples.

There really is a shortage of good soft porn nowadays.

Re:He's got a point (4, Insightful)

Jameth (664111) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650569)

> Indeed, there is material which virtually everyone would agree should be kept out. Sadistic pornography, incitement to violence against racial or ethnic minorities are just two examples.

I didn't read the article, but this jumped at me while reading your post.

How blatantly false.

If virtually everyone agrees it should be kept out, why it so common and easy to find? Does he, possibly, mean that virtually all people would agree it should be kept out if they were asked directly in public with lots of people listening, or that they would agree in private where no-one is looking.

Just a flat-out bad statement.

Where is all the sadistic pornography? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650706)

Thats my favorite kind and its not so easy to find out there.

Re:Where is all the sadistic pornography? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650814)

Go to cliphunter.com or pichunter.com and click on something on the left labeled 'bondage', 's/m', 'bdsm', 'anime', whatever...can't recall the exact sections off the top of my head.

Re:He's got a point (1)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650739)

Yeah, the brain's pretty amazing when it comes to pattern-matching, ain't it?
Spectacular how it's pollution filters zero in on the substring PORN and it just jumps out at you like it's in big bold letters or something.

Re:He's got a point (2, Interesting)

Jameth (664111) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650825)

Quite true.

I recommend the 'sex' test.

Say 'sex' in most any classroom and everyone will look at you. There's quite a few other words that work, but that one's my favorite, because its not at all inappropriate. Sometimes, it even causes dead silence.

Oh, the fun of having nearly infinite social-experiment guinea-pigs in the general public.

Re:He's got a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650769)

Indeed, there is material which virtually everyone would agree should be kept out. Sadistic pornography, incitement to violence against racial or ethnic minorities are just two examples.

What is this guy smoking? Only incitement to violence against minorities is bad. How about agains majorites? There go the rappa's!

Regulation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650531)

Ask yourself this: If communications were never regulated how much sooner would we have seen digital and/or encoded and/or encrypted forms of radio?

Now, while you're thinking about that, think about how much we pay to have the beloved FCC, which does what, exactly?

Libertarian Wacko

Braincap or Braincop? (0, Offtopic)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650542)

The cheesiest thing about the ending to 3001 was he destroyed the Monolith -- wait for it -- a VIRUS!

A Cantor connundrum I think!

He wrote such a great story only to have it fall completely apart at the end.

Re:Braincap or Braincop? (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650711)

Hey, it's amazing he kept it up for that long. There's one common thing among writers, a writer block. And it gets bigger as the story gets longer.

Re:Braincap or Braincop? (1)

Jameth (664111) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650795)

Whatever you do, whatever, you don't tell how a book ends.

Oh, and for that particular tidbit: Fuck you very much, I hadn't read 3001 yet.

A.C.Clarke - Sex Criminal? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650543)

What happened to the reports that he'd abused children over a 20 year period which were printed in the UK press 2 or 3 years ago? Did that result in either prosecution or libel?

Re:A.C.Clarke - Sex Criminal? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650561)

Case defeated:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/s/w_as ia/74938.st m

Information is not polluted or diluted. (4, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650550)

I think the problem we face is that it's not that we have "bad" information out there taking up "valuable space" simply because what is valuable and bad is totally subjected to the individual.

I think what we need to realize is that there is too much information past the point of comprehension. I wouldn't say this is a problem, but rather calls for a solution of better orginization. And in the case of the Internet, I see that it's currently being addressed with search engines such as Google.

Re:Information is not polluted or diluted. (1)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650726)

And in the future, hopefully, some sort of machine-readable interpretation of the various texts available on the Internet (perhaps into RDF and co.) will make finding the pertinent information even easier. Easier on the human, I mean. It's not like the computer is anything more than a mental packhorse in the first place, right?

This is more where I perceive the issue of information pollution becoming a problem. I would imagine that it would be difficult to teach a computer to figure out which information is true and which is propaganda from the RIAA, MPAA, and various overzealous religious leaders and free software proponents. I suppose trust networks come into play here... I'll let you finish this thought off.

OT: Your sig (1)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650752)

Just follow the money trail, for it will lead you to the truth.

I think this really only applies when money is very important. With rich people (and maybe in less money-centric societies) wouldn't it be more accurate to say something like "Just follow the power trail..."?

Unintended Consequences (2, Insightful)

superyooser (100462) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650579)

Having achieved unprecedented progress in the field of communications during the past half century, we now have to pause to think of social, cultural and intellectual implications of what we have created.

I'm so glad that we didn't put the cart before the horse. :-/

How ironic! (5, Funny)

rknop (240417) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650597)

An article about information pollution, linked from Slashdot! Who would've thunk it?

-Rob

It's true, information is getting harder to manage (5, Insightful)

Gldm (600518) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650598)

There's alot more information being generated these days, and we need to make sure we can keep on top of ways to filter, sort, and absorb it. When the web was 100 sites, it was pretty easy to find what you were looking for. Then when it exploded we needed search engines. Then blogs became popular and Google is still working out how to cope.

I think Advertising is getting to be a problem. Adware and Spyware are running rampant, and making computers less useful by confusing users. Spam is crippling email worldwide. And it's not just limited to online effects, commercials are longer, shows are shorter. Movies have almost an hour of advertising sometimes: slides, then commercials, then trailers.

I don't know how it affects most other people, but to me advertising sticks in my brain and keeps gnawing away at the back, making me less likely to buy a product. The more annoying, condescending, or pointless an ad is, the stronger the hate towards the company for wasting my time. For example, I'll NEVER buy a GAP product. Why? Well if GAP had just been a regular clothes store, I might have gone in, wandered around, maybe bought a shirt. But their commercials are so irritating I despise them. I've gone as far as to cross the street to avoid one of their larger stores. Here's another: Capital One talks about their "no hassle" credit cards. I thought this was a good idea and I was thinking of applying for one. Then they ran massive popup spams all over the web, and I changed my mind, permanently. Then there's the modern print advertising in computer industry magazines. You know, the ones that look and read like a 2-4 page product review with a very tiny light gray on white "Advertisement" printed somewhere you're not likely to notice it? That kind of thing pisses me off enough to go and look up the competitors to that company so I can reccomend them instead next time I need that type of product. I really do stuff like this. Am I the only one who's this insane? You tell me. Then there's the outright decietful crap. About 2-3 times a month I get envelopes with my bank's logo on it. Inside is a check for $2.50, and in really light fine print somewhere it'll say "Depositing this indicates you agree to let us take $8/month for 'services' directly from your account." Elsewhere in fine print is a disclaimer saying "We're not really affiliated with your bank even though we're reprinting their logo on your mail." Now I don't fall for this, but I'm betting my grandmother would. And the "valuable services" are basicly more advertising, they send you piles of coupons and ads for stuff. Great, just what I wanted.

I wish companies would focus more on making a better product and highlighting its advantages and features instead of randomly spewing statisticly generated images of unrelated crap, assuming people will digest this and buy it.

Re:It's true, information is getting harder to man (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650668)

The advertisements that are fake stories irritate me too; you see them in certain newspapers too.

You might be a little nuts if you cross the street to avoid walking past a store though. =]

Capital One is No-Hassle in the sense that they'll send you less junk mail once you join. You don't get to stop the pop ups though.

Re:It's true, information is getting harder to man (1)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650789)

I noticed you didin't mention McDonalds in your list of annoying advertisements. Surely that was a mistake. Same goes for Coke, too...

Just for clarification, by "Coke" I'm referring to the "Coca-Cola" soft drink. Although I am getting rather annoyed by the constant endorsements by celebrities of the llello as well.

Information Pollution? (0, Troll)

STrinity (723872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650601)

Someone must've sent him goatse.cx.

Re:Information Pollution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650863)

Just who do you think that is in the picture?

How about Get Rid of Copyrights (4, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650624)


The simple truth is that copyrights create a system of rewards for people who push hype over substance. It is no longer about what has the most social value or service value, but rather which gets the most heads to turn. You can also see this effect in things like text books. The information in some books has changed little in over 100 years, but you wouldn't know from the racket they run at the college book stores - there's a new revised version every semester.

I think all to often, people think this media mob like behavior is just what happens in a free society, but IMHO it is not. It happens only when you start to restrict what people can copy.

Re:How about Get Rid of Copyrights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650708)

If you want bold predictive statements about technology in the style of A.C.Clarke heres one for you, remember where you heard it first...

In 50 years time copyright and intellectual property will be obsolete concepts. We will laugh about how people once tried to restrict flows of information for financial gain, and laugh AT them and their 'laws' for the historical curiosities they were.

Re:How about Get Rid of Copyrights (1)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650801)

Yes, I'm getting tired of spending money on college books that get more revisions and updates than an open source project. You know, the ones [sourceforge.net] that release a new version after every trivial change?

One man's info is another's pollution (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650639)

Beck's song gets the "New Pollution" about right. What about fake-named MP3s of Reproachful Madonna? Transgenic mutations slipping that flounder antifreeze gene from tomatoes to icecream barns? Virus in your kernel? WiFi in your Bluetooth? What kind of Superfund sites are we looking for when we dwell mostly in an infosphere dumping ground?

I take everything he says with a grain of salt (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650742)

This IS the man that refuses to believe that we humans will ever use anything other than rockets to travel through space. (He's actually quoted as saying this) A lot of people credit him with creating the Satellite when all he did was slightly alter the concept of bouncing signals off the ionosphere, something which people had been doing since the birth of radio, pheh. He had like one or two good books, nothing to see here folks.

Re:I take everything he says with a grain of salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7650885)

Or rather, he's actually misquoted as saying that.

One disagreement.... (4, Insightful)

Handpaper (566373) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650781)

I don't want to "overcome current limitations of literacy".
Voice-recognition and text-to-speech converters should be for the sole use of blind or partially-sighted people who absolutely cannot see text at all, ever.
I can see this developing into another govt.-sponsored program of 'enablement' when these people would best be served by teaching them to read.
Literacy is too important to be made optional.

great post (1)

AK47 (47846) | more than 10 years ago | (#7650960)

this is one of the greatest articles i have seen on slashdot. Thanks to Castolari and the slashdot person repsonsible for seletcing it!

wow... (0, Offtopic)

mantera (685223) | more than 10 years ago | (#7651020)


regarding past, present and future... what's most remarkable is my surprise to realize that the guy is still alive... some people i guess seem to have been there forever.... henry kissinger is an example..
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