Derrick de Kerckhove is the director of the McLuhan program at the University of Toronto and has the following things to say in a recent interview.
TF: What will be the key societal impact of mobile telephony/Internet?
De Kerckhove: Acceleration. Mobile telephony and Internet is accelerating society in at least two ways: Vastly increasing the volume of human transactions, and reducing the time delay between transactions.
The difference between today’s accumulation of knowledge and connectivity and that of the Renaissance is qualitative as well as quantitative. While the printing press distributed knowledge in different places and different formats with comparatively slow access routes, the mobile Internet gives access to all of that information and infinitely more of it anywhere, anytime. Ever more efficient search engines are making that access not just merely pertinent but “hypertinent” which is the logic of the memory in our brains. Every time we think, we summon the most pertinent information available in our mind. Imagine having the same kind of access to the contents of everybody else’s mind at once. It’s quite literally mind-boggling.
The first paragraph states the obvious point that society is accelerating, although it dose enumerate two important dimensions to the acceleration: volume and delay.
The second paragraph is more interesting. I especially like the ‘hypertinent’ coining. This extension of our own memory to the global memory represented in search engines is the beginning of the creative extension that I predict will happen over the next several decades as our minds become intertwined with subagents (computer progams and interpersonal data connections). That term needs a better name but I haven’t found it yet.