Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Humans obsolete?

I was pondering more on Matt's question (below) about the role of libraries and librarians in the future. It was interesting, because for all the roles I saw, I could envision technology in the future doing the same thing better than we can. For example, the role of evaluating, selecting and promoting quality information - there is speculation that Web 3.0 could do just that. It sounds like there is technology being developed that could read, interpret and give a quality assessment for the massive amounts of information out there. It could do this quicker, cover more information and potentially do a better quality job than us.

If in the future technology could do all our tasks better than us, what would be our role? Would it be to provide the human contact? Even for that, there is speculation about robots in the future who could simulate human relationships. I would argue no matter how closely these robots were to humans, there would always be the essential humanness missing. But many people might think that loss worth it to have most of the positives of relationships without the negatives.

In my technology class today we watched a video of a technologist talking about how he sees technology as being the next stage in evolution:
Kevin Kelly - "How technology evolves"
Of course, all this brings up questions about whether humans would even be necessary in a world where technology is superior to us in every way.

I feel like I'm becoming a technology pessimist! But as Dr. Mitchell pointed out in class, the struggle is how to be technologists, while resisting a trend that wants to evolve us out of existence.

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