15 April 2008

Our nomadic future

Here are some excerpts from another recent article from The Economist, Our nomadic future, which make insightful reading on what may be the future of our digital lives:

“Ancient nomads went from place to place — and they had to take a lot of stuff with them (including their livelihoods and families). The emerging class of digital nomads also wander, but they take virtually nothing with them; wherever they go, they can easily reach people and information.”

“Will it be a better life? In some ways, yes. Digital nomadism will liberate ever more knowledge workers from the cubicle prisons of Dilbert cartoons. But the old tyranny of place could become a new tyranny of time, as nomads who are ‘always on’ all too often end up — mentally — anywhere but here (wherever here may be). As for friends and family, permanent mobile connectivity could have the same effect as nomadism: it might bring you much closer to family and friends, but it may make it harder to bring in outsiders. It might isolate cliques. Sociologists fret about constant e-mailers and texters losing the everyday connections to casual acquaintances or strangers who may be sitting next to them in the cafĂ© or on the bus.”

“As for politics, the tools of nomadism — such as mobile phones that double as cameras — can improve the world. For instance, they turn practically everybody into a potential human-rights activist, ready to take pictures or video of police brutality. But the same tools have a dark side, turning everybody into a fully equipped paparazzo. Some fitness clubs have started banning mobile phones near the treadmills and showers lest patrons find themselves pictured, flabby and sweaty, on some website that future Google searches will happily turn up. As in the desert, so in the city: nomadism promises the heaven of new freedom, but it also threatens the hell of constant surveillance by the tribe.”

[Citation: Our nomadic future, The Economist, 10 April 2008.]


Saibal Barman said...

Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful article ( with the link to the original ) !
We may agree to its whole, or a part or reject it entirely according to our own valuations; but we cannot simply ignore its impact on our thought processes.
While immediate access to sources of knowledge and wide connectivity between communicators liberate human minds to soar higher, it also holds it at ransom for losing concern, anxiety and urge for being in togetherness, for imagination and for exploration of bounds of knowledge.
Connectivity essentially denies a nomadic character as the latter thrives on being in isolation from the mainstream. Yet, it bears not only a wandering soul, but wondering innerself.
No new road was ever discovered with thumping sounds of footsteps of a great promenade; it was once trodden only by a solo wanderer carrying a soul to explore the nature, a newer horizon and a different world.
It all depends upon how pure is the content; and the rest is the destiny...
Thanks, again, for presenting a strikingly different topic...

runawaysun said...

@ Saibal
Thank you for your comments on my blog. I’m glad you liked the post. I particularly liked your line, “connectivity essentially denies a nomadic character.” But thanks to digital technology, even this is changing.
Digital technology allows a new kind of connectivity and a new kind of mobility; thereby, re-defining the terms ‘nomad’ and ‘nomadic’. In the digital world, a nomad is likely to be a very different ‘beast’ from what we know.