2005/10/22

Understanding Technology

Technology is changing the world and how people interact with the world and with each other. Knowing about and understanding some of that technology can make it easier for us to interact effectively and make our lives more enjoyable. There are many ways to learn about and understand today's technology. Reading two recent books will give you an overview of technology's impact on the world and a close-up look at the subject of "Search" on the internet. These books are a recommended read for anyone interested in how technology in general and search in particular are impacting others around the world and may impact you on an everyday basis.

In "The World Is Flat", by Thomas Friedman,
the author explains what is meant by a “flattened world”, how it got that way, and his recommendations for surviving and thriving in a flattened world. The global economy enables and facilitates completely digitizing many jobs and digitizing parts of many other jobs, which allows them to be done wherever the lowest-cost, high-quality execution of that job can be done. Nearly-instantaneous global information transfer allows many manufacturing jobs to also go to those parts of the world where the lowest-cost, high-quality production is found, such as China or India. Instead of resisting or ignoring these changes, the US and western Europe must understand, accept and benefit from these changes and must build on their strengths to build unique and valuable skills and industries not available elsewhere. As Friedman says, "once the world has been flattened and the new forms of collaborations made available to more and more people, the winners will be those who learn the habits, processes, and skills most quickly—and there is simply nothing that guarantees it will be Americans or Western Europeans permanently leading the way." Reading "The World Is Flat" just might give you a whole new outlook on where you and the world around you are headed.

"The Search", by John Battelle, gives an up-close look at Google, the world's leading internet search engine, and how internet search has and will change the field of human knowledge. For many people, "...Google has become the gateway to instant knowledge." Battelle traces the origins of Google, and to a lesser extent, search engines in general, and gives an interesting tale of how Google grew into the technology giant it is today. He also presents scenarios of what search may evolve into, and how that evolution may change your life. If you use Google or other search engines, you should read this book. If you know someone who doesn't use the internet or doesn't use it very much, have them read this book. It may motivate them to get a high-speed internet connection and start using search engines to connect with information they're passionate about and to connect with others who have the same interests. In the final section of the book, Battelle discusses some directions search is taking and what impact it may have on your life five or ten years from now.

If you read either book and have questions, contact me at bob@mydigitechnician.com or meet me at Mister Churro in Appleton (Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 10, Tuesday night from 7 to 9 pm, or Wednesday morning from 7 to 9 am). If you're interested in integrating new technologies into your life, myDigitechnician would be happy to discuss how we can help you do that. (http://www.mydigitechnician.com)

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