Review of Curious by Ian Leslie
The Desire to Know & Why Your Future Depends on it.
If you hadn't guessed, that's the book strap line. I should start off by saying that I haven't finished the book yet. Not because it's poor but because it's interesting. It's full of ideas, the sort of ideas that percolate and grow with time and reflection. For example, does Google restrict creativity and curiosity? Immediate, relevant answers are efficient but they do not cultivate tangential thinking, serendipity and making associations. Google's aim is to continually reduce the gap between question and answer, brain implants are the logical conclusion.
Leslie cites a Reddit discussion. A question was asked:- "If someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared today. what would be the most difficult thing to explain to them about today?" The most popular answer:- "I possess a device, in my pocket, that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get into arguments with strangers."
Leslie's book has made me think about the internet. I wonder if we should reinvent the way some software works and the way we use that software. Coders (people like Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg) tend to be logical and rational. They tend to think in straight, vertical lines. This has resulted in a highly efficient internet but has reduced us to looking at cats, clicking eye-catching titles and writing "search optimized articles". Would it be more creative and inspiring to encourage "going off at a tangent", the discovery of new links and randomness? How can we make the internet more human?