Saturday, February 7, 2009

A black hole or Web 2.0?

Can you tell?

In Wikipedia the abstract concept of a black hole is given shape: "According to Einstein's theory of general relativity, a black hole is a region of space in which the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing, including electromagnetic radiation (e.g. visible light), can escape its pull after having fallen past its event horizon."

The computer simulated images above is credited to Ute Kraus, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik, Golm, and Theoretische Astrophysik, Universität Tübingen

Drawing of a black hole Credit: XMM-Newton, ESA, NASA

"The black hole information paradox results from the combination of quantum mechanics and general relativity. It suggests that physical information could 'disappear' in a black hole, allowing many physical states to evolve into precisely the same state."

I don't know about you, but I see and seem to be experiencing Web 2.0 as a black hole. Is it possible? Is it a "bad" thing? I've decided it is possible and it's not a bad thing.

Upon completing the chapters "Emotions and Creativity" and "Implications-Structural/Spiritual Impact" in Knowing Knowledge by George Siemens, I felt this even stronger. Siemens states, "We exist in dimensions beyond pure cognition. We are shaped by social interactions. We are influenced by our emotions, our motivations. We require transformative (spiritual) knowledge for novel recombinations (to rethink and recast information)." I know we are all multidimensional, but we are all entering this space, this world wide web space, this Web 2.0 space that is not easily understood. A transformation of the knowledge we hold and those with whom we share this knowledge occurs in an undefined space, for me, a black hole. And where does that information go after it bounces around among the planets and stars (individuals) and the solar systems (online communities)? Those words, that information, our virtual work define us as individuals; however, who we are may or may not be an accurate reflected in that work, as it is absorbed by others.

Siemens concludes, "The capacity for shared understanding today does not arise from being exposed to the same resources. It arises from being transparent with each other. A tool is required that allows us to manage our identity and share what we wish with those we wish." I would argue that the gravity of this tool hold us together and perhaps transforms us into transparent individuals. But do we disappear in this space? Is that what happens in a black hole? Is this what holds us together in Web 2.0?

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