Spime, mime, and clouds – All you ever needed to know about the Knowledge Revolution

Last week’s Sunday Times article by Rosie Kitchen reviewed Ben Hammersleys “64 things you need to know now for then” and is exactly that.

Ben is the editor-at-large of Wired and the Prime Minister’s Ambassador to Tech City, London’s Internet Quarter. ‘It is a guided tour through latest technology and an examination of how it will change our lives…..what lies ahead is already recognisable but nonetheless remarkable’.

‘New technologies are bringing about fundamental changes in society, they are happening in the manner of all revolutions: very, very gradually and then very suddenly’.

The catalyst for this is the Internet. Not only has it radically changed the way we work, live and love but, Hammersley notes, it has also turned the rules of business on their heads. In this new world David regularly beats Goliath, and because of this, industries have to develop new business models quickly. We are now defined as either technologically literate or illiterate: those who get it and those who do not.

The problem, Hammersley suggests, is that most power holders and decision makers do not.’

“the Internet destroys every business that enters its sights and remakes it in its own image” – –just ask record companies, travel agents and publishers what this feels like. Next in line for an overhaul is Government’

‘Government will have to adapt to a public who are increasingly used to having an opinion and having that opinion taken seriously’ see change.org and The Nelson Touch, cando.org.au,and the impact of the Internet in the ‘Arab Spring’.

‘Government will be forced to start thinking more like a brand, competing for the attention of the public’.


What if everything you purchased was also accompanied by an electronic tag that told you not only its ‘e numbers’ but its origins, about the conditions of its workers, the companies ethical track record and much more? Fair Trade is but an infant compared to this scenario. It is already being used by Amazon with its price comparison app. See the success of Wikipedia – the ultimate example of ‘crowd sourcing’.


ReCaptcha is Googles version of this service, which uses human intelligence to help to digitise old texts.

This technology was used to digitise 20 years of the New York Times in just a couple of months.

3-D printing

This is rapidly approaching and you will be able to order parts for your dishwasher, bike, or a 1920 Bugatti to be produced from a digital source and turned into a real part. Airbus does this for intricate landing gear parts in Filton, UK.

‘Hammersley believes the Internet is essentially untameable. Censorship is not logistically possible; nor is it feasible for governments to read people’s emails, despite headlines to the contrary. The task is too great. Society will have to adapt to the Internet, not the other way around.’

“The ability to be anonymous online is a huge social good, it enables you to ask questions and express opinions that you couldn’t before – and get answers”

This vindicates my strongly held beliefs expressed in previous blogs: that we are in the Knowledge Revolution and the Internet has turned us into a global village. All old preconceptions fall before us ‘only humans’ who have 48,000 years of behavioural conditioning hard wired into our ‘headwear’. Desmond Morris recently commented on the London riots: people who live in villages don’t burn their neighbours’ houses down. So, if you want to know the answer, think village people! A cynic recently reminded me that villagers do, however, burn other villages down. The Internet does not rid us of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse but it does go a long way to stop powerful individuals doing it and landing all of us with the consequences. Watch the news!

“What we will see more of is Internet users deciding for themselves what is and is not appropriate behaviour and doling justice out as they see fit.’ ’twas ever thus!

‘for the record, a meme is a concept that spreads via the Internet : an echo chamber is when something posted online is distorted in the retelling, like Chinese whispers; and a cloud is remote online data storage.

When I read this excellent article I stopped, got the kindle version on line immediately, and couldn’t stop until I had read it – so should you! Then I finished the article……..that’s viral!

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