Knowledge Organisation


Kim H. Veltman

Culture and Knowledge in the Digital Age
English original of: Kultur und Wissen im Digitaler Zeitalter

Das Gesicht der Welt. Medien unsererKultur, Paderborn: Fink Verlag, 2004, pp. 13-29. [This essay summarizes some of the key insights of the author’s book Augmented Knowledge and Culture, 2000.]

1. Introduction
2. Invisibility
3. Virtuality
4. Systemicity
5. Contextuality
6. Spirituality
7. Conclusions

1. Introduction

It is difficult to keep up with and to understand the magnitude of the revolution in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Two examples make the point. In 1995 the G7 demos at Midrand used a Silicon Graphics (SGI) machine with a gigabyte of Random Access Memory (RAM) valued at $1,000,000. In 2002, the same power is available on a home computer at a cost of $2,600. A second example: In the year 2000, the ASCI Red computer at Sandia Labs, the size of 5 basketball fields with 11.5 trillion instructions (or teraflops) per second, was the largest computer in the world. In November 2002, that same computer was at position 15 in the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. In November 2002, the top computer was Japanese, at least three times as fast as ASCI Red and we are told that by the end of 2003 there will be a new computer, which will have 1000 trillion instructions per second: i.e. the fastest computer will soon be 15 times more powerful than the combined power of all the 500 top computers in 2000 and it will only be the size of only two refrigerators.

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