The Russians were kicking our ass at hockey and, according to my back-of-the-envelope calculations, our farm was in the blast radii of Montreal and Ottawa! (I blame trying to expand my English vocabulary with Reader’s Digest for my alarmist outlook).
I remember reading a Bertrand Russell book, I think it may have been Has Man a Future?
in it he had a quotation that I can’t seem to find anywhere that went something like this: “Man’s Intelligence far exceeds his wisdom”. Essentially, Russell is saying that we invent technology before we as a species have developed the wisdom, rules, ethics, or laws to effectively use said technology.
Now social media won’t threaten the existence of our species, like nuclear weapons or genetic modification, but the analogy still fits.
The technology of social media which, from what I can tell, grew out of the technology of internet dating sites in the early 2000s, has taken the world by storm.
Music, TV, books, photography, telephony, dating, either have been or will be disrupted. This second phase of the digital revolution will change the way we consume information on a scale that will rival the invention of the Guttenberg press or the Renaissance.
Our lawmakers are stumbling around trying to make sense of the technological paradigm shift or, better still, are trying to use it to political advantage without understanding it. Their lack of wisdom in the face of this technological upheaval is sadly too obvious.
The actual quantitative study of what is happening is only now emerging as a science. It involves elements of graph theory, big data know-how, sociology, anthropology, and a whole lot of math. There are many names for it. I am partial to Physics of Society but, then again, I am really not that great at naming things. For non-math explanations I would turn to the seminal Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, “Linked” and “Bursts”.
It’s not going to be easy and there are going to be uproarious debates and symposium’s and mistakes and foolish interpretations, but we can safely say, as far as social media is concerned, wisdom may begin to catch up to technology.