Sunday, December 31, 2006

Digital Communication

I recently signed up as a contributor at a new blog. I thought that this was a great opportunity to promote my blogs and articles. My first article was on Unusual Music and Instruments. I shamelessly filled it with links to my blogs and articles on music. I also pointed some links in the direction of my musical friends.

I was rather proud of my effort and of my cleverness at getting incoming links to my sites. Then, it occurred to me that since the blog is very new, I really can't expect my post to be seen by many people. By the time the blog becomes popular my post will be deeply buried in the archives. Who knows if it will ever be unearthed. Then, I thought it doesn't really matter. The search engine robots will read it. Then, I thought this is crazy! I wrote an article for robots!

I remember reading science fiction as a kid. There were all sorts of fears about how technology would control and ruin our lives. It has been speculated that robots would become our entertainers and squelch the need for humans to exhibit creativity.

So far this hasn't happened. Robots aren't producers of art. They have become consumers and critics of it. As we speak robot spiders are crawling the net, trying to index every square inch of digital space. As they crawl, they categorise and prioritise the information. Search engines results are the ultimate testament to the untiring labor of these indefatigable laborers.

If you want humans to find the information that you post to the Internet, you must first submit to the demands and tastes of these robots.

Consider just one consequence of this. These robots don't understand pronouns. If you want good search engine ratings you should probably replace many of your pronouns with the keywords that they represent.

Some people claim that this is a good practice, anyways. The overabundance of information on the Internet has caused us to change our reading habits. We tend to scan text, just looking for highlights that we find interesting. This makes it easy to confuse your readers if you use too many pronouns.

This is true, but disturbing. We really don't have to worry about machines becoming too much like people in the foreseeable future. We are far too complex to make that an immediate worry. My concern is that people will become too much like machines. Maybe, this is already happening. (Imagine ominous music.)

1 comment:

Barb said...

The robots may lead us somewhere, but it's the content that will keep us there :) Thanks for accepting my challenge!