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TEDxWarsaw - Marek Minakowski - 3/5/10

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Good morning, I'm Marek Minakowski, I'm the chief scientist at onet.pl and my job is to tell the future. And it's a tough job as you can see. It's tough because we are bombarded every day with products and services, let's call them, "machines," which are all so great, fantastic, new, revolutionary, groundbreaking, breathtaking, (Screen: Help!) We cannot-- we cannot see the forest full of trees. This 20th century quotation is not good, it doesn't work really. We need something better, some-- maybe a 19th century wisdom. Yes, dear Watson, you are right, it's deduction. It's elementary, dear Watson. So lets make a deduction. To have a deduction we first need some assumptions. And the first assumption is that the machines have great, enormous storage. Storage-- They store more and more information every day. It's growing indefinitely. Also, the computing power is growing very fast. Exponentially, according to Moore's law, every 2 years, the number of chips doubles. The input devices, the sensors, are collecting information from everywhere very fast with some help of the government. On the other hand (laughter, applause) This is how our thinking device looked like almost two centuries ago. Do you think anything changed? Nothing! Nothing, the same hardware, the same computing power. The same input devices: eyes, ears, hands and so on. Even the same working memory, these "magic" seven objects we can store. Nothing changes at all. So we can now join equasions, and state our first theorem. So what-- The total amount of information that is produced by the machine world for the human world, is what we can really absorb, what we can understand, take in, and the rest is junk, trash, waste and so on. So having said this we can now jump to another conclusion. Very striking. That actually everything that is delivered to us, humans, and that will be delivered in the future centuries, will be constant, because our devices, our hardware is not changing, and the amount of hours is also not changing. For example the in Poland the number of people is not actually growing. So, taking some some other assumption we can say that virtually it is constant within the order of magnitude. So now we need some another observation: For centuries humans are either pulling information from something, or are being pushed by some information. For instance, 10,000 years ago you could go to some holy man and ask: "When will it rain at last? We are dying," or, "Gods! Yes, rain, rain, rain." [The holy man would tell us.] 200 years ago you could pull information from some holy, some wise books that could tell you everything, for instance, how should you wash your shirt, or skirt or something. Or you were pushed by information, in newspapers which were quite a new invention 200 years ago. For instance, "The Times" was circulating in 7,000 copies in some 1810. Now we either pull the information from some "holy" Google that will answer everything we ask it, or we are being pushed by information at some facebook or so. So now lets go back to the question: How will the Internet look like in the next 200 years? How will the media look like? And the correct answer is that it will actually not change at all. Because we will not be able to consume more information than we are [consuming] now. Also, our main ways of obtaining information will be also the same, because they are defined by the world, by how we are built. So... What will be? [What will it look like?] We will be either asking some crystal ball: "Oh, dear ball, tell me which dress should I put on this evening," and it will give a good answer, of course. Or there will be some perfect secretary who will, first: protect us from the flood of information, because machines will be producing more, and more, (...) information. But we are not able to take in more than we are taking in already now. So... If you should take something home, some "idea worth spreading," the idea is that there will be some perfect secretary with crystal balls-- ball, still. (laughter, applause) Yes, and the whole energy, the whole development will go [on to] just being better, smoother, wiser, more pleasant, and so on and so forth. And thats the main direction of development [for the] next 200 years or so. Thank you very much. (applause) (Ralph Talmont:) I think I need one of those perfect secretaries. (laughter) If our brains really are able to, you know, take a certain amount of information, which of course is-- for anyone who works with information, it's obvious. The next question is, what happens to all this incredible amount of data that's being produced? -- And it is going to continue being produced, and it's going to be produced at an ever-increasing rate, we can assume. Is there an army of experts who are digesting it and spitting out the important bits, or is it all just getting stored on, you know, big storage devices somewhere, to be maybe accessed in the future at some stage? Or is it all just going off into the ether and people are being paid to produce it with a kind of-- not a lot to show for it? (Marek Minakowski:) Actually, the number of people, mankind as such, all over the earth, will not grow indefinitely. So the number of brains working with this information will also not grow, so I-- My idea is that, actually, every information produced will be stored in these machine-tanks, inside. So we will not be able to access it. In the future we will not be able to check whether google and facebook are correct or not. So far, now, we cannot actually know whether google's algorhythm works well or not. Maybe they -- engineers at google -- know, but I suppose most of them also don't know. (laughter) The same with Facebook, it's the same kind of push in the US. Thank you. (applause)

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 45 seconds
Country: Poland
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: TEDxWarsaw
Director: TEDxWarsaw
Views: 107
Posted by: tedxwarsaw on Mar 15, 2010

Marek Minakowski is a philosopher, genealogist, historian and the Chief Scientist at DreamLab Onet. His TEDxWarsaw talk concerned how to tell the future of the internet from a 250-year historical perspective.

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