Saturday, March 14, 2009
The Ideocultural Age
I (Jon) think this is the next thing: creation of semi-autonomous systems that go on to propagate ideas "on their own".
Daniel Pink argues that society, having moved through the Agricultural and Industrial ages is now transitioning from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age in which creative and empathetic skills will be as valuable as technological skills (and the ability to combine them will be most precious).
But perhaps we can see a bit further. The idea of the “meme” has moved from speculative biology to common parlance in the last 25 years, aided and abetted by a growing global network of computer viruses, digital media, viral marketers, and internet-enabled ideologies. New kinds of products based upon artificial life (computational, chemical, and nano-mechanical), engineered genomes and technologies for augmenting nervous systems are coming to market. The “marketplace of ideas” is recognizing the phrase “ecology of ideas,” as a complementary and perhaps more fertile metaphor for the coming era.
I would suggest that future innovators will influence the ecology of ideas by focusing not just on the extraction of material resources from the physical world, not just on the cultivation of existing plant and animal species, not just on conceptual synthesis of ideas and experiences, but on the design and creation of self-regenerating patterns of interaction in physical, informational, and cultural ecologies to create semi-autonomous systems that go on to propagate themselves.
That will be the Ideocultural Age.