Handling Data

Information expands infinitely in all directions. Why? Because even though the amount of information per physical volume unit may have a theoretical limit, there is no specific comprehension of how much volume there is in the universe. Additionally, some people are driven to find ways to increase the amount of information per physical volume unit, some people are driven to organize information in general, and some people are driven to find ways to expand the amount of volume we as a human species can possess. While there are people who are against all three of these things, the population as a whole seems to be interested in advancing these causes.

How will we handle data in the future? Digitization has made information simpler to produce and distribute. Online content distributors (perhaps also known as portals) such as Google and Sina will probably begin to act as the TV-equivalents of CNN and BBC, as majority decisions become harder to implement, even in an Internet world, as more information becomes available to everyone.

Consider for now your own information, however. Your digital footprint is everywhere (as if your real-life footprint wasn’t already). When you click your mouse or hit your keyboard of your PC for the first time, the computer already has been thinking and churning with precision for you, ready for your inputs. People fundamentally alter the relationship they have with machines when their inputs are stored onto the machines themselves. I am curious whether people are aware of the abstractual similarity between setting the time on a microwave to saving a 300-page essay on your laptop.

Data is everywhere; this much we know. The question remains – how do I get the data I desire? Just like “real stuff,” I can lose a particular piece of data quite easily without proper organization. One of the major disadvantages of digital organization is that we are largely limited to one (visual) form of organization (conceivably there is some sort of auditory organization that could occur), and within visual organization we are usually accustomed to organization by symbolic languages. Considering that many people and large entities are having a difficult time keeping their data organized now, imagine the kinds of problems people will have when they are trying to store the way their house smells into digital formats. Will there be a way to digitize the complete set of neuron signals that you feel when you go to a baseball game? Drink a glass of orange juice? Imagine double-clicking on something titled “Silk” and your mouse changes texture. Hopefully you don’t mix up that file with song called “Silk” or poem titled “Silk” – but this kind of thing already happens, where you have two things that are named the same but are actually opened using two different programs.

When handling data, one should consider whether the appropriate method for acquiring information is via an intricate system of forced sorting (discipline) or a keen sense of search (fundamental understanding). Sorting is potentially very unwieldy when there is more data, and searching is potentially more difficult to perform when there is more data. In either case, there will need to be entities that continue to identify and categorize data as it continues to indefinitely appear, so that we will continue to be able to obtain and use information in the future.

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