Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Future of Libraries

Science fiction and the fate of the libraries session @ TLA
Look to scifi cause often scientists write it and it frequently comes to pass in one form or another. Ex- Clark's artificial satellites, computers, robots, ereaders, inet. Whole societies predicted by Huxley, Orwell, Pohl. Libraries have been around but changed radically and continually. See extinction timeline- we are extinct in 2020. Computing drives the future and is likely to grow expotentially from now on. Comparison- now at insect brain level, by 2040 will be at human brain level. Look at: bioengineering, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence advances for the future. Most changes likely to occur here.
AI singularity model- we'll lose control as tech advances. (Vinge) I.e. Terminator, Wake, or Deepness in Space present different scenarios.
Super future model- advanced capabilities with computers under our control.
Dystopia model- evil people gain control over the technology- power and wealth only held by few.
Muddling Through model- advancements made slowly and used for good but not efficiently.
This is the scenario most likely to occur- how will libraries fare in this society? Digitization and direct to brain downloads, using digital spaces like 2nd life- libraries assist with huge cost, kindles and iphones providing book access as inet gets cheaper and faster. Implanting of digital devices?? (I vote no!) Books likely to disappear. Illiteracy possible. Artificial intelligence may become a personal librarian, but we'll have to show others how to use them and evaluate the info. Proliferation of 2nd life-use of avatars, computer generated environment- expensive- likely to be in libraries for people to experience. Libraries will provide face to face meeting space for people. People are still social creatures. Will become difficult to live without ebooks and iphones- these are transitional devices to artificial intelligence. Libraries should be democracy centers and continue to help people become better citizens. Libraries provide needed access to technology for the poor in our polarizing society. 1 percent own 40 percent of wealth. Info is one of our greatest needs and if it's expensive or difficult to use, libraries will continue to prosper.

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