"Bruno Latour forecasts the future"
A quite compelling title for a blogpost right?(Via Daniel Kaplan), last month I haven't parsed the whole New Scientist's special issue about 50 years foresight. There is this intriguing short one by Bruno Latour that makes sense:
In 50 years, social scientists will be able to visualise the connections between human organisations and technological objects. Today we know how to visualise technological systems using scientific images and technical drawings, but we have no idea of how to hook those designs up with the arrays of emails, spreadsheets, blogs and pieces of paper that organise the people who operate those systems. Why should that matter? Think of the Columbia disaster: there were thousands of drawings of the space shuttle and its parts, but none to represent the organisation of NASA. Once Columbia had exploded, everyone realised that faulty procedures were just as much to blame as faulty parts.
Devising connecting tools is a major but feasible undertaking. Fifty years is a safe bet: it is about the time it took in the Renaissance to invent perspective in the first place. Why do I blog this? well, I fully concur with Latour's description and I sorta like that this forecast is not about crappy superintelligent computers or quantum leaps into parallel universe. What is interesting here is the description the authors makes of potential connection between human and non-human actors. It might seem a bit cryptic but there are good implications to draw here concerning blogjects and the participation of objects in social webs.