On Pierre Levy's Cyberspace and the Future of Memory

    For the last years we have been making use of the internet to the extent that it has become such a natural and a necessary tool for our daily lives that work and leisure time would be almost unthinkable without owning a computer connected to the web at home or at work. However, Lévyfs article on cyberspace and the future of memory makes us reconsider the vast possibilities of this powerful tool.

    I think it is a very sharp presentation that shows us with some real connections between both sides: us, humans, and the machines. Especially it is interesting the way Levy depicts the cyberspace as the evolution of the cultural memory; how through the web we can take advantage of its ubiquity and interconnection, how it allows users from their homes to create a cultural network were thoughts and intelligence can be shared crossing every barrier. In other words: it is a way to delete de line between the active writer and the passive reader, where this last one, is enabled to take a role and make the relationship go both ways and become interactive. Machines, so far cannot think for themselves, and just follow the parameters that have previously been programmed and designed by humans. A clear example can be seen in the failure of the automatic translating devices, or the lack of precision of the web search engines, which are having trouble in distinguishing typed strings from real concepts.

    In addition to this, the IEML theory is very interesting, as a proposal to make the most of the semantic possibilities, go beyond linguistic limitations and build up a communication system. Again the idea of connecting the terms of hardware, software and conceptware is very worth mentioning, as well as the rational methodology to relate semantic numbers to natural languages.

    However, these IEML and semantic numbers projects, despite of how appealing they may look, still sound as a utopia to me, and I think it will still take decades until it becomes a feasible enterprise. Nevertheless, it is a good starting point for the construction of a universal system of communication.