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skynet is alive and well and living in digitopolis

In a more or less arbitrary way, I decided to create something, only to discover that someone had beaten me to what I thought was my idea, which just goes to show that creation should come from itself not an independent self-conscious decision. Recently I’ve been lulling myself to sleep at night by mentally listing homophones. It’s an almost infinite list, so it’s not the best aid to relaxation. I toyed with a diversion into word play, and tried to link it to the idea of digital natives, which got me wondering where digital natives live, and voila, we have the city of digitopolis.

First, I made a brief, unhelpful excursion into the etymology of digitalis then a further Google search led me to The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Digitopolis, it turns out, is one of the capital cities in the Kingdom of Wisdom, and is where the one of the rulers, the Mathemagician lives. Why have I never heard of this modern classic, far less read it?

Alternative names for the residence of digital natives include Numeropolis, apparently used by Juster in early drafts and Digital City, resonant of some futuristic space opera, but in practice this turns out to be a much more prosaic project in Teeside. Cyber city is apparently a cyberpunk anime and that leads us into the territory of Chiba City and Neuromancer. But it turns out I’m already there.

I recently started using Chrome in addition to Safari, and installed extensions for Sidekick and Kifi. Twitter has started sending me discover messages, which I turned off, but it feels like I’ve crossed an event horizon.  StumbleUpon was an early attempt at a curated web but it never lived up to my expectations. Now it seems that the web is curated either by an Artificial Intelligence or a hive mind of real people.

But at least I found The Phantom Tollbooth using only Google.

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 artificial intelligence, creativity, web

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