Science Non-Fiction

Steve Rubel does an excellent job of condensing a somewhat obtuse piece about the future of computing that’s running in Forbes.

David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale University, paints a scenario that once seemed out of reach but now feels more plausible given the rising use of rich Internet applications.
Gelernter envisions a giant beam of information – a Worldbeam – that’s organized chronologically. All of your data is stored on the Worldbeam. You decide who can access its micro components and how. However, none of your data is stored locally on your PC. Information follows you no matter what device or computer you use.
Should this vision becomes a reality, it could have a big impact on how we consume and create media and how corporations tell their story.

Gelernter says, “The Web tells us what is going on all over the place, right now. It expanded our view of the present–maybe our very definition of ‘the present.’ The Beam shows us the same sprawling, enormous ‘now’ that we see on the Web but shows us the past and future, too.”
I’ll add that the web also tells us about the past right now. That’s what blog archives are all about, and Flickr galleries, to give but two top-of-mind examples. Additionally, the so-called “Worldbeam” already exists. Look at Matt Haughey. Over the last year he’s moved almost everything he does online and away from his local computer.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.