Life in a File: Anagram

September 4, 2006 by pedro mota

Society is evolving faster than ever, reinventing itself, creating new approaches to our part in the global picture, using a time frame we could not possibly think possible and viable decades ago.\r\nThat’s when this anagram becomes true. Our life is being merged and compressed into single files. Our intellect, image, relation to the world is getting out of our physical domain. We are spreading it across computer data centers all over the world. When we send an electronic mail message we can’t seem to imagine the journey it accomplishes. That’s when artificial beings become responsible by the delivery of our feelings, our desires, affections, wishes and goals. We trust machines to know the path. And they don’t let us down most of the times. We trust them because with no human interference the message gets its destiny. But if not, we are advised against it. Yesterday i got an automatic email response. The email could not be delivered, but the system will keep trying it:\r\n

Warning: message still undelivered after 4 hours

Will keep trying until message is 5 days old

\r\nThis behaviour would not be acceptable if done by humans under a normal mail delivery. Not with that persistence. We could not ask the mail man to sleep by that person door waiting for him to get home. But this technological implementation is a wish for that to happen. And it gained trust for important content to be delivered this way, by single or corporate entities. The national Post-Office CEO said their business is a dieing one. The graphical curve of normal mail delivery is declining in perspective. And it is declining fast. They will have to reinvent themselves or will become obsolete.\r\nThe number of people putting their lives in digital format increases every second. Documents, spreadsheets, images, sounds, videos became an extension of us. There are people that work every single day trying to maintain safe those extensions. Keeping them safe and secure in data storage servers is their goals. Network infrastructure administrators keep their eyes on flat screens monitoring digital traffic. Billions of dollars are spent and earned to maintain this flow of intellectual property running. Distances are huge. The time we expect data to reach us is getting shorter in a month basis. The fascination of speed improvements last weeks. Soon after, the content being spread gets more complex. Simple text files became complex formatted text. Single low resolution images or low bit rate sound files, are not acceptable. High resolution images, sounds and videos are becoming standard. Will the universe quantum physics have to be upgraded ? Universe 2.0 ?\r\nAfter all, we don’t want to wait too much to get our life back in our hands. Not so long ago, the FBI or the CIA had files. File was a strong word. It usually meant lack of privacy. Knowing someone in detail without knowing her. Now… everybody has files. We exchange files. We upload our curriculum vitae to websites for public analyses. We upload personal photos to public photo websites. We do podcasts. We are exposed. I pretend not to talk about safety or lack of it. We expose what we produce professionally. Based on that we build images of thousands of miles persons. Physically, emotionally, intellectual. We mentally build people. Then we relate to them using Internet and that allows to fine tune the image, but always in perspective. So, are we getting unreal most of the time ?

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