Monday, October 31, 2005

Keep Talking

If you are serious about the global brain hypothesis/analogy as I am then this piece of news is an exciting development which portends a whole new level of global intelligence. The article describes a number of new technologies which are being used for speech translation. The implication is that as this technology matures language will no longer be a barrier to communication. UPDATE: Also check out this Forbes special on communicating.

What this means to me is that individuals all over the world who do not speak English will be able to connect to our world and understand us. People in the middle east can watch American news and understand it. The millions of people in China who only speak Mandarin will be able to make friends with people all over the world and their authoritarian government will no longer be able suppress the ideas of freedom. In other words every node in the global brain will be able to communicate with every other node. The exchange of ideas. This is the true source of the global economy and universal progress. People talking to one another form the engine of history - not oil or any other product.

This is the basic difference between idealism and materialism. Hegel believed that people and their ideas participated in an evolving 'zeitgeist' that was moving toward the goal of a universal mind which he describes as "thought thinking itself". Hegel's student, Marx, didn't believe that ideas drove history but rather things and products drove people' ideas. This is economic materialism and it seems to be ingrained into almost all modern economic thought in some form or another.

The most important thing for economic and technological progress to continue is that we keep on talking.


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