I suspect I am not supposed to do this, but what grabbed me in the Bush “As We May Think” was what wasn’t there. Bush writes in great detail about how information can be gathered and associations built, but presumes that most of this information will have as its source the usual suspects (encyclopedias, printed periodicals, etc.) He is almost silent on the notion of the end user as content creator. This is the blind spot of the piece.
It’s not surprising. Futurists do a good job of predicting things which are a logical outgrowth of existing techne, but have a poor record with things which require conceptual breakthroughs. Jules Verne describes fax machine like devices in Paris au XXe siècle , but misses radio completely.Interestingly , his description of an education system which eschews the classics for the practical arts and (what we’d now call) STEM was pretty much spot on.
Blogs and social media and the like now allow us to think in public. This is a notion all but unheard of a generation ago. It will be interesting the extent to which the major reading do or don’t address this notion of public thought. Particularly , I mean putting in public thoughts which haven’t yet been carefully edited/censored. Prior to the web, if you read someone’s thoughts, they were (most of the time) already in an edited form that had been through several drafts.. Stephen Krashen, writing about language acquisition , describes an internal “monitor” that learners use to check their language output for errors and correct it. The monitor is much more active when someone is writing than when they are speaking, since there’s not time to check individual spoken utterances without awkward pauses.
I wonder if internet writing has the effect of turning down all of our internal editors, and what that means for the future of written expression.