What the future holds!

Well, I spent some time playing and learning on Voicethread this week. What a great tool! I already have several ideas for its use in my English courses. I’m looking forward to starting semester two so I can get going.

I listened to Marc Smith’s interviews (Parts 1 & 2) entitled “An Inflection Point” and found them to be fascinating and frightening at the same time (couldn’t help think of the movie “I Robot” and other SciFi movies/books). Smith essentially talks about mobile devices such as phones, blackberries, computers, and how they will transform our society from one that is ephemeral to one that is archival. He was even talking about communication between devices and the power of self-documenting. A few quotes that resonate with me are, “every object has a story or will have a story to tell” and “mobile devices will sprout sensors like a Swiss Army Knife”. Smith spoke about the possibility of “life logging”. This idea is similar to the idea of LPWS (Lifetime Personal Web Space) presented by Cohn and Hibbitts. Smith goes on to state that mobile devices are changing the social network and that the world could become annotated in every aspect, not just books, DVDs, movies, but personal phone calls/emails and even actual activity (movement) documentation. Meaning your every move is recorded on some device and is stored somewhere.

Of particular interest to me was the question: What are the implications of having all collective action recorded or annotated? Pretty scary if you ask me. It would be difficult to remain anonymous, detached or removed if one wanted to. In my opinion we would be sacrificing personal freedom and privacy for information access and sharing. Smith states that a lack of activity or interaction via mobile devices would easily identify or single out an individual. Take for example this course, a lack of activity or participation by a participant would certainly bring that person to the attention of the professor and other participants. Is that person having difficulty with the course work; is he/she disinterested; or is it as simple as not wanting to complete the required work? Who knows! The point is inactivity signals or flags the individual. Maybe that person wants to be left alone. That would be difficult in an annotated world. It becomes much easier to single someone out when analyzing the amount of activity through on blogs, emails, and other tools than it would be in the traditional classroom (world). Do you want this? Are you willing (is there a choice?) to sacrifice your personal freedom and privacy in the New Age?

What do you think? Give it a listen, it’s worthwhile. Fascinating stuff!!

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