Requiem For Networks

Episodes

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01Welcome To The Labyrinth20110321

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history, power and revolutionary change of the new information networks.

Are they a revolution or a regime change?

Today the business and academic communities embrace the 'networks' with the same fervor they once showed the electronic media of the 1960s.

Thanks to the internet they have the basic model for 'crowd sourcing', 'data farming' and other forms of research.

Online communities of 'netizens' continue to multiply and flourish, offering new perspectives on consumption, relationships, political participation and mass communication.

The networks today seem ubiquitous and omnipotent: but do they represent a cultural revolution or a total regime change? And what do we understand of their history or their power? Who and what, finally, do the networks connect us to?

1: Welcome To The Labyrinth.

'We set great store by the welcome we receive - we have usually travelled a great distance to get there.' Perhaps the hardest labyrinth to get out of is the one you don't even realize you are in?

Welcome to the Labyrinth.

01Welcome To The Labyrinth20110321

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history, power and revolutionary change of the new information networks.

Are they a revolution or a regime change?

Today the business and academic communities embrace the 'networks' with the same fervor they once showed the electronic media of the 1960s.

Thanks to the internet they have the basic model for 'crowd sourcing', 'data farming' and other forms of research.

Online communities of 'netizens' continue to multiply and flourish, offering new perspectives on consumption, relationships, political participation and mass communication.

The networks today seem ubiquitous and omnipotent: but do they represent a cultural revolution or a total regime change? And what do we understand of their history or their power? Who and what, finally, do the networks connect us to?

1: Welcome To The Labyrinth.

'We set great store by the welcome we receive - we have usually travelled a great distance to get there.' Perhaps the hardest labyrinth to get out of is the one you don't even realize you are in?

Welcome to the Labyrinth.

02Victorian Search Engines20110322

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history, power and revolutionary change of our modern information networks.

Today the business and academic communities embrace the 'networks' with the same fervor they once showed the electronic media of the 1960s.

Thanks to the internet they have the basic model for 'crowd sourcing', 'data farming' and other forms of research.

Online communities of 'netizens' continue to multiply and flourish, offering new perspectives on consumption, relationships, political participation and mass communication.

The networks today seem ubiquitous and omnipotent: but do they represent a cultural revolution or a total regime change? And what do we understand of their history or their power? Who and what, finally, do the networks connect us to?

2 'Victorian Search Engines.' Sherlock Holmes had his gazetteers, almanacs and timetables; the City had its Stock Exchange, the Parisians had their pneumatiques and Morse had his code; the early telegraph wires followed the existing network of railways throughout the country, receiving, storing and sending on information.

All these examples indicate not just ways of distributing data but also ways of thinking.

How much of our own thinking about networks has been influenced by the past?

Ken Hollings on how much of our thinking about networks has been influenced by the past.

02Victorian Search Engines20110322

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history, power and revolutionary change of our modern information networks.

Today the business and academic communities embrace the 'networks' with the same fervor they once showed the electronic media of the 1960s.

Thanks to the internet they have the basic model for 'crowd sourcing', 'data farming' and other forms of research.

Online communities of 'netizens' continue to multiply and flourish, offering new perspectives on consumption, relationships, political participation and mass communication.

The networks today seem ubiquitous and omnipotent: but do they represent a cultural revolution or a total regime change? And what do we understand of their history or their power? Who and what, finally, do the networks connect us to?

2 'Victorian Search Engines.' Sherlock Holmes had his gazetteers, almanacs and timetables; the City had its Stock Exchange, the Parisians had their pneumatiques and Morse had his code; the early telegraph wires followed the existing network of railways throughout the country, receiving, storing and sending on information.

All these examples indicate not just ways of distributing data but also ways of thinking.

How much of our own thinking about networks has been influenced by the past?

Ken Hollings on how much of our thinking about networks has been influenced by the past.

03The Network Goes To War20110323

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history, power and revolutionary change of our information networks.

3.

The Network Goes To War.

The Cold War armed the engines of information.

In the third of his essays, Ken Hollings looks at the impact of the Cold War in determining our information networks.

In 1945 Vannevar Bush, the head of US scientific research during World War II, wrote an essay called 'As We May Think' - it argued that, thanks to intricate mass-produced components, a whole new generation of communication devices would soon come into existence.

By 1991 CNN was able to transmit a live commentary on the opening salvoes of Operation Desert Storm from the Baghdad Hilton.

And even as the cable news network was in its ascendancy and Iraqi Command and Control became paralyzed, the public was also learning about a new communication system called the 'Internet' being used by Kuwaiti citizens to contact the outside world.

From Sputnik to the development of the World Wide Web, the Cold War has provided an ideal climate for the network to flourish - with a little help from Neil McElroy, the man responsible for inventing the soap opera.

Writer Ken Hollings discusses the impact of the Cold War on our information networks.

03The Network Goes To War20110323

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history, power and revolutionary change of our information networks.

3.

The Network Goes To War.

The Cold War armed the engines of information.

In the third of his essays, Ken Hollings looks at the impact of the Cold War in determining our information networks.

In 1945 Vannevar Bush, the head of US scientific research during World War II, wrote an essay called 'As We May Think' - it argued that, thanks to intricate mass-produced components, a whole new generation of communication devices would soon come into existence.

By 1991 CNN was able to transmit a live commentary on the opening salvoes of Operation Desert Storm from the Baghdad Hilton.

And even as the cable news network was in its ascendancy and Iraqi Command and Control became paralyzed, the public was also learning about a new communication system called the 'Internet' being used by Kuwaiti citizens to contact the outside world.

From Sputnik to the development of the World Wide Web, the Cold War has provided an ideal climate for the network to flourish - with a little help from Neil McElroy, the man responsible for inventing the soap opera.

Writer Ken Hollings discusses the impact of the Cold War on our information networks.

04I'll Be Your Orange Juice20110324

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history & revolutionary power of our information networks.

4: 'I'll Be Your Orange Juice.' Netizens, prepare to get intimate with the inanimate.

In his penultimate Essay on our information networks, Ken Hollings, examines Netizens.

From spotting craters on Mars to identifying images in museum archives, it seems that there is no longer a problem that can't be solved simply by throwing enough people at it.

Social networks, online communities, multiplayer games, open-source projects and long-tail marketing are all examples of how the masses of the 20th century have been replaced by 'the crowd' of today.

The networked 'wisdom of crowds' continues to evolve - from Second Life to MySpace and from Facebook to Twitter.

These, however, are nothing compared to the personal relationships the netizen of the future will enter into with inanimate objects: ID chips and complex barcodes embedded in products will allow you to interact with the contents of the supermarket shelf, establishing a social network of things.

Don't look now but that carton of orange juice just called you by name.

Writer Ken Hollings explores our relationship with inanimate objects.

04I'll Be Your Orange Juice20110324

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history & revolutionary power of our information networks.

4: 'I'll Be Your Orange Juice.' Netizens, prepare to get intimate with the inanimate.

In his penultimate Essay on our information networks, Ken Hollings, examines Netizens.

From spotting craters on Mars to identifying images in museum archives, it seems that there is no longer a problem that can't be solved simply by throwing enough people at it.

Social networks, online communities, multiplayer games, open-source projects and long-tail marketing are all examples of how the masses of the 20th century have been replaced by 'the crowd' of today.

The networked 'wisdom of crowds' continues to evolve - from Second Life to MySpace and from Facebook to Twitter.

These, however, are nothing compared to the personal relationships the netizen of the future will enter into with inanimate objects: ID chips and complex barcodes embedded in products will allow you to interact with the contents of the supermarket shelf, establishing a social network of things.

Don't look now but that carton of orange juice just called you by name.

Writer Ken Hollings explores our relationship with inanimate objects.

05 LASTHeads In The Clouds20110325

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history and revolutionary power of our modern information networks.

Today the business and academic communities embrace the 'networks' with the same fervor they once showed the electronic media of the 1960s.

Thanks to the internet they have the basic model for 'crowd sourcing', 'data farming' and other forms of research.

Online communities of 'netizens' continue to multiply and flourish, offering new perspectives on consumption, relationships, political participation and mass communication.

The networks today seem ubiquitous and omnipotent: but do they represent a cultural revolution or a total regime change? And what do we understand of their history or their power? Who and what, finally, do the networks connect us to?

5 'Heads in the Clouds'

In his final essay, Ken Hollings looks at the implications of the latest information networks.

From the earliest centralized networks, when all roads led to and from Rome, to the decentralized networks of the European Enlightenment all the way through the distributed networks of the nuclear age, our paths have never stayed the same for very long.

The networks might soon be replaced by 'cloud computing', a method of data storage which will allow you to access data from any terminal, anywhere, at any time.

The meteorological metaphor seems appropriate: as data becomes another constantly-shifting element in our global environment.

But doesn't being anywhere also mean being nowhere?

Ken Hollings on the implications of the latest information networks, such as the 'cloud'.

05 LASTHeads In The Clouds20110325

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history and revolutionary power of our modern information networks.

Today the business and academic communities embrace the 'networks' with the same fervor they once showed the electronic media of the 1960s.

Thanks to the internet they have the basic model for 'crowd sourcing', 'data farming' and other forms of research.

Online communities of 'netizens' continue to multiply and flourish, offering new perspectives on consumption, relationships, political participation and mass communication.

The networks today seem ubiquitous and omnipotent: but do they represent a cultural revolution or a total regime change? And what do we understand of their history or their power? Who and what, finally, do the networks connect us to?

5 'Heads in the Clouds'

In his final essay, Ken Hollings looks at the implications of the latest information networks.

From the earliest centralized networks, when all roads led to and from Rome, to the decentralized networks of the European Enlightenment all the way through the distributed networks of the nuclear age, our paths have never stayed the same for very long.

The networks might soon be replaced by 'cloud computing', a method of data storage which will allow you to access data from any terminal, anywhere, at any time.

The meteorological metaphor seems appropriate: as data becomes another constantly-shifting element in our global environment.

But doesn't being anywhere also mean being nowhere?

Ken Hollings on the implications of the latest information networks, such as the 'cloud'.