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Jewcy and The Coming Kingdom of the Internet

Jewcy's vision of the human future is way multifaceted. So while we would like to see a 21st century in which secular, skeptical young Jews have all the tools they need to reconnect with Judaism/Jewishness in a meaningful way, we've … Read More

By / October 4, 2006

Jewcy's vision of the human future is way multifaceted. So while we would like to see a 21st century in which secular, skeptical young Jews have all the tools they need to reconnect with Judaism/Jewishness in a meaningful way, we've got other dreams, too.

For example, like any good Web 2.0 start-up, we'd like to see a world where IPv6 has allowed the internet to extend into every man-made device on the planet, and where digital/information technology is so relentlessly pervasive that there is no hope of escape from the digital hive mind. We want the whole planet to be one huge mass of endlessly transmitting 0s and 1s. The cognitive machinery of the human brain should become nothing more than an organic and particularly robust computational device amidst an endless sea of artificial computational devices; and an as-yet uninvented neural interface should allow more-or-less unimpeded communication between the computational machinery inside our heads and the lesser computational machineries we create.

At least, this is what I would like to see. I haven't actually confirmed that the other Jewcy staff are on board with this vision, but I get the feeling that they are: you can tell by the way they smile at their computers.

Anyway, I mention all this because I got very excited to see Slashdot's report that NASA is to start using a "Touch User Interface" technology that allows a reader to touch a "regular printed ink and paper page", and have the paper page transmit digital information to a nearby appliance.

The company that will provide this technology to NASA is called Somatic Digital, and they claim that they are "expand[ing] the use and usability of the book in the digital age." Slashdot agrees: they describe this as nothing less than a graphical user interface for books.

This is soooo phat. Nothing is safe before the digital juggernaut. Nothing. Soon you'll have to install Windows Vista into your hard copy of Walden before you can read it. More happily, perhaps you'll be able to push on a word in a book–say, an unfamiliar term in your siddur–and have some nearby appliance (say a cellphone/PDA) pull up a primer on that term. What an unexpected step this is toward the coming Kingdom of the Internet, as foretold in (my copy of) Jewcy scripture!

And now if we can just sort out that "meaningful and accessible Judaism" thing…

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