Mastering Information Through the Ages

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of the Long Now Foundation‘s Seminars on Long Term Thinking. Tonight’s seminar looks like a good one. Stewart Brand sent out the following writeup:

In a classic case of reperceiving the present via a very-long-now perspective, Alex Wright invokes examples from evolutionary biology, cultural anthropology, mythology, mysticism, the history of printing, scientific method, 18th-century taxonomy, Victorian librarians, and early computer history to get a fresh grip on what the hell is going on with information these days. Past mastery and future mastery, he finds, involves crafting the right byplay between bottom-up distributed self-organization and structural hierarchy.

Kevin Kelly says of Wright’s new book, Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages, “I found Alex Wright’s quick, clear history of past methods for managing oceans of information to be a handy clue to where we are going. He introduces you to an ecosystem of information organizations far more complex and interesting than the mere ‘search’ tool.”

“The Deep History of the Information Age,” Alex Wright, Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, San Francisco, 7pm, Friday, August 17. The lecture starts promptly at 7:30pm. Admission is free (a $10 donation is always welcome, not required).

While only Bay Area readers are likely to be able to attend, video of all seminars is available to Long Now subscribers, usually within a few weeks after each seminar.