Thursday, September 10, 2015

Time to start talking about data ecology?

For long time we've treated the web as it it was an infinite space.  Perhaps it's not.

Each data file format and platform simply is a reflection of some new aspect of our lives that has become digitized (our mail, photos, contacts, locations etc).   When cool new platforms emerged, we migrated to them in mass.  When these platforms became bogged down by parasitic behaviors we tolerated the inconvenience or abandoned the platform for another.  We've created a disposable web.

The problem with this pattern is that initially platforms had just fragmented parts of our lives.  Now these platforms aggregate more aspects of our lives under a single umbrella - soon having our genome coded with our intent.    Furthermore, as we move into an internet of human beings, these platforms will be tied not just to our reputation but also our physical survival.   We won't have the luxury of abandoning ourselves online.  We've in effect, run out of room for data file formats to migrate to now that we exist as human beings in time and place on the web. 

The good news is the patents for the initial data file formats of the web will be expiring soon.  Perhaps it's time to consider the ecology of data and inter-web renewal?

The web is a reflection of human behavior.  It thrives when people can find each other and interact in goodwill.    If we have to sort through landfills of  abandoned digital garbage to find each other then something wonderful will have been lost.

Alicmarie Rathjen

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