Technology carries the power of thought

It’s always a delight to hear the voice the person behind the story in formal news outlets. Those of you in Cleveland may remember fondly when Chris Thompson used to put out CrainTech–not only the knowledge but the character of the person illuminated the stories. He is missed.

Anyway, here’s a good one from this week’s Information Week e-newsletter:

Speaking of hope, Canada has joined some European countries in banning so-called “cyberhate.” This consists of Internet sites that propagate negative messages based on race, religion, and other factors.

I have to confess to being of two minds here. Part of me cheers any attempt to help kindness and tolerance win over hate and fear. But I also have to wonder about the actual oversight of this law. Who decides what is “hateful”? What line needs to be crossed before the anti-hate police come knocking at your Web server? When is any given sentiment “letting off steam”–and when does it become the “online dissemination of xenophobic propaganda,” in the words of the Canadian law?

And in a following story, they talk about how text messaging carried the day over jammed cell phones for communicating during the London bomb blasts. Ah, technology.

Have you ever beamed a document from one PDA to another? It still gives me the goosebumps, and I can see it happening with our very thoughts in the future. One day, we will discover the trick to focusing our minds in such a way that we can communicate with our loves ones–maybe even our business associates–across distances with only a chip in our heads.

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