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A Google Life - Transience Divine
December 9th, 2009
11:07 am

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A Google Life
By now, the Droid phone is firmly entrenched in my life. I use it to check email when I should be talking to people and to read Scientific American after Flame has gone to sleep. I put my card-based life-todo system online and use it through the phone, and tied it into the phone's calendar system. It's my phone, camera, music player, and alarm clock. I use it to tell me where the closest bagel place is, and what constellation jupiter is in tonight. I've started talking to it too, because the speech recognition seems almost flawless.

The scary part is how integrated it is with everything at Google. I can add a new number to my phone, and it will fill in their name, email, a chat link, google map link, and whether they prefer boxers or briefs. It makes me wonder just how much of a constant companion that corporation is. My main email is @gmail, my main chat is google talk, I track my finances on Google docs, the Droid's calendar system is just a UI wrapper on google calendar, and I've started doing work documentation on google wave. The Travelers Network simultaneously advertises on google, and includes google ads on it.

I took the LSAT last Saturday, and we used Google's slick navigation system to find our hour-long way there and back. A few times, the signs told us differently than Google, and Google always turned out to be right. The Droid's orientation sensors are so good that I can use the phone like binoculars to look at a version of the sky where everything is labeled. I find myself using my eyes less and less and Google more and more.

And that's just the beginning. The Atlantic has a now-famous article Is Google Making Us Stupid? about how Googling rewires our brains. We remember less, read more horizontally, pay attention more briefly. And every day, Google becomes bigger, and plays a more definitive role in our actions. Some day, about three 530 million years ago, single celled bacteria realized that they had become pawns in a game controlled by the multi-cellulars. Now our day has come: our lives play out as mere biological aides and ironically the links that chain us to our new role are our cells.

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From:asmodai
Date:December 9th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
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Jimmy! I am shocked by your scale bias. By every measure I can think of unicellular organisms are far and away, more successful than us bigger critters. Numbers (dozens or more of orders of magnitude), biomass, resource utilization, diversity. And they can kill us so, so, so much more easily than we can kill an equal portion of them. Imagine trying to kill 1/6,500,000,000th of the many nonillion (10^30) of bacteria (just bacteria!) on this earth. Without them we'd die; without us they'd do just fine. To bacteria? We're just part of the landscape.

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From:jrising
Date:December 10th, 2009 04:30 am (UTC)
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I completely agree with you, but let me take it a step further. There is about 100 times as much bacteria DNA involved in the functioning of your body than human DNA. And yet, as the bacteria's landscape, we set the stage for their actions. Rather like a city organizes people to produce GDP, we harness bacteria to do our bidding. You could, of course, say that bacteria cultivate us to house them, and you would be right too. But we play a bigger role in their lives than they do in each others'. There was a time when the RNA of human cities was law, and it had limits. But now there's now a new nucleic acid defining cities, and it's computer source code, and it's going to harness you, even as you cultivate it.
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From:asmodai
Date:December 10th, 2009 07:31 am (UTC)
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But that's such a small fraction of bacteria, and bacteria are only a part of unicellular life. You can't say we're in charge because we've tricked a few into symbioses.
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From:little_e_
Date:December 9th, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
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Why are you taking the LSAT?

Pretty much every lawyer I know has been miserable in law.
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From:jrising
Date:December 10th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
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There's a neat JD-combined-with-Masters of International Development at Duke, and I want to apply to it. Besides, law is sort of like the source code of western society, so there's a geeky part of me that wants to know how to program it. Aside from that program, though, I have no intention of lawyerizing.
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From:little_e_
Date:December 10th, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
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So long as the outcome is something you can stand, good luck :)
From:cokebottletuque
Date:December 9th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
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yes, Google and calculators...
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From:frankensplean
Date:December 11th, 2009 06:23 am (UTC)
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Brits ruin the "cells" play on words, whot with their calling their instruments "mobiles". Wankers! :P
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