I've taken a shine to a man called Bruce Sterling
. Apart from writing SciFi novels, he also heads up a bunch called Viridian Design
, a group whose focus is ecological design. I saw him give a talk at South by Southwest about how the nature of production is changing [transcript
], largely as a result of things he labelled fabjects, which are real objects created from virtual designs by a 3d printer. Drop one of these surprisingly cheap printers anywhere
, and you can churn out any number of essential items from a valve for a water pump to a splint for a broken leg - anything
that you can design on a computer.
In the latest Wired magazine, he writes
about Order out of Chaos
; what happens when it's left up to all of us to categorise things... you know, the beaver thing?
Ultimately no human brain, no planet full of human brains, can possibly catalog the dark, expanding ocean of data we spew. In a future of information auto-organized by folksonomy, we may not even have words for the kind of sorting that will be going on; like mathematical proofs with 30,000 steps, they may be beyond comprehension. But they'll enable searches that are vast an eerily powerful. We won't be surfing with search engines any more. We'll be trawling with engines of meaning.
I like that.