Society and Culture, Media and Technology

Web Prophet on the Future of Media

This fascinating Edge interview with David Gelernter shows the way in which ideas shaped the advent and evolution of the Web:

The central idea we were working on was this idea of de-localized information—information for which I didn’t care what computer it was stored on. It didn’t depend on any particular computer. I didn’t know the identities of other computers in the ensemble that I was working on. I just knew myself and the cybersphere, or sometimes we called it the tuplesphere, or just a bunch of information floating around.

This concept seems obvious now, but wasn’t until Gelernter and his team started giving theoretical form to the early Web.  Gelernter deserves a lot of credit as intellectual prophet of the Internet as we know and use it now and as a visionary of cloud computing. What is especially interesting in this conversation are his ideas about the evolution of media, particularly papers, as news delivery services.

We need The New York Times, we need newspapers, to provide it for us, to edit it so that it is not incoherent. But we also need them to deliver stuff in real time. We have to be able to see the flow.

Read the whole thing to see where he is going with it. Gelernter may have the future development of the technology right, but there is still the question of the business model large media firms will adopt in the age of digital technology, a topic Jim DeLong tackled here.

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