The Tyranny of Real Time

A model for the Stockholm library (from the Long Now)

Stockholm library model render

Globalisation and virtualisation have initiated a world time that prefigures a new kind of tyranny…Tomorrow, our history will be played out in the universal time of the instantaneous.

So warned Paul Virilio in uncharacteristically lucid terms for a French philosopher. Watching this talk from the CEO of Akamai (thanks to Dean over at Fusion Investing), it seems that we are about to make the next great leap forward.

What is intrinsically wrong with ‘real-time’?

We are just not designed for it. Our machines might operate in nano-seconds, but even our most instinctive reflexes, the literal blink of an eye, require multiples thereof. With real-time let loose on our waking selves, we are robbed of our ability to reflect. And reflection is one of those attributes that set us apart from our peers on the evolutionary tree.

If you feel rushed in your day then consider what this contribution from Blackberry is really trying to say:

Why is Blackberry essential for my business? I can do more in less time…it goes on…On average Blackberry users recover an hour of downtime a workday

Now tell me what the hell is ‘downtime’?

Information dysentery – where information passes straight through us as a stained and smelly liquid – is not what I want for my children. Yet perhaps that is why I can see that the transhuman is so absolutely necessary.

Our offspring will manage the tyranny of real-time with the aid of devices that we ancients would find truly abhorrent, but through this will retain the ability to reflect and to enjoy the sensual aspects of a fragrant meal and warm bed. Just maybe?

In-house Analyst


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