Are Search Engines Altering Reality?
Fresh from the hazy archives of Amsterdam scholarly research, a group of Dutch scholars have presented a concept that may indeed cause spastic synaptic misfires-a meltdown, even. The group maintains that because of the way search engines index the Web (as a subsystem of a greater system, the Internet), they may be altering time and space by creating multiple “presents.” Huh? Wait, there’s more.
Are you a Homo Interneticus living in the alternate time-space reality of the ultra-present? Discuss in WebProWorld.
In the vein of quantum string theory, where there remains a system of alternate realities and multiple dimensions, the Internet erases global time barriers by allowing a man from Romania to converse in real time with a woman in California. This creates a temporal reality in the realm of cyberspace that is, essentially, timeless, thus creating “simultaneity of the non-simultaneous.”
Building on this concept of virtual timelessness, the researchers became curious about Internet search engines and the ways they index this world without time.
“Internet search engines function in a present which changes continuously. The search engines update their indices regularly, overwriting Web pages with newer ones, adding new pages to the index, and losing older ones. Some search engines can be used to search for information at the internet for specific periods of time. However, these date stamps’ are not determined by the first occurrence of the pages in the Web, but by the last date at which a page was updated or a new page was added, and the search engine’s crawler updated this change in the database,” reads the article.
In other words, conclude the researchers, search engines rewrite history by continually updating the present and erasing the past in the process. This condition creates an “extended present,” that is, perceptually, never ending. Does your head hurt yet?
They don’t stop there, however. The brain-strain is extended based upon the aforementioned “simultaneity of the non-simultaneous.” Not only is the present extended indefinitely, but “multiple presents” are created because of the number of any given people surfing the Internet at any given time (or non-time, for that matter) simultaneously, though not at the same clock time, per se.
Stop it, you’re killing me.
I know, but this could be (or could not be) important. What time is it where you are? Never mind, don’t tell me.
So, the new evolution of man, hitherto known as Homo Interneticus (I promise I’m not making this up), is constantly trapped in an “ultra present” from which he may never escape unless his Internet connection is shut off.
“The permeability of the time-boundary between present and future is increased by technologies which facilitate temporal uncoupling and decentralization, and which produce different models of time referring to the present that have largely become detached from linearity.”
RightSo does this mean if I punch you now, you won’t feel it until tomorrow? Or maybe if I punch you now, during our present simultaneity of the non-simultaneous existence, the event won’t be blogged and indexed until tomorrow, but by then the search engine will have erased the past and created the ultra present and thereby deleting the event altogether? I hope not, because I want you to feel the punch today!
If you like this kind of mind-twisting discussion, I suggest you check out Schroedinger’s Cat. You won’t know if it’s a 404 until you click on it. While you’re at it, it may be a good idea for our Dutch scholars to read this.