I fell into some kind of reverie on the train yesterday. I began thinking back to my childhood and how we were promised that – if nuclear war and the resulting nuclear winter didn’t kill us – computers were going to do all of our work and that our central concern as a species was how we would cope with all this leisure time.
didn’t really turn out that way, did it?
My breath started to tighten as I allowed the thought to follow through and roll back on itself. All of our technology creates data and, increasingly, more and more people are employed to move the data, analyze the data (creating more data) store the data, archive the data, normalize the data, target and push and pull the data. All the while the tide of data gathering force, overwhelming us. We are increasingly forced to invent new roles to manage the exponential rise of data.
data begat data…
And so the emotional freefall went on. The single pure statement, lost in a blizzard of discussion, debate, criticism, review, compare, contrast… The life digging its own grave. All very terry gilliam, all very 80’s dystopia – and the artistic response has been made, all the way through the 20th century. And all responses are collated, like this teardrop in an ocean blog entry, and forgotten about. With each byte taking up a wee bit of space that someone is going to have to be paid to shift, to store, to backup – but not remember, assimilate, digest.
And so I dug my own mental grave as the train shot its way through East Lothian. And I fantasised about stopping altogether, about stopping the pollution of product – the way I did with poetry and plays and novels and letters and diaries some six years ago… And I can’t. The life demands a response. It is pointless to resist because the pressure builds up and that just results in hurt friends and family. But every work of art that emerges, merely adds data to the grave.