Steve Austin. The 6 Million Dollar Man. Lindsay Wagner. The Bionic Woman. I couldn't get enough of either of them when I was a boy. I imagine that the bionic woman coming out later, when I was entering puberty, would explain why I had the hots for Lindsay Wagner, especially when she ran in slow motion in that Pocohontas outfit. And I imagine that my referring to him as Steve Austin rather than Lee Majors is because I so wanted to identify with him. Steve. Perfect name for a bionic boy.
I was slogging through some college football schedules today, just trying to get a better handle on this wonderful season that has finally blown in. Slogging. I went to several popular news outlets like espn and foxsports. Both are loaded LOADED with information. The info is well-presented, colorful, and hyperlinked. But, it was a slog for me. Why?
Why are facebook and twitter and mmorpg's and porn and candy crush and farmville and whatever the latest corny games are such a time sink? And why was their predecessor, ebay, such a time sink? In my opinion it's because we are all bionic. Our brains and eyes are so much faster and more powerful at processing information than programmers have understood. And computers are weak at doing things like humans. As a result the computing interfaces we've ever seen have been awkward and time-consuming to us.
This might be hard to accept because of how infatuated we are with computers and computing devices like smart phones, tablets, laptops, and other shinies. They're so fast. They do so much. They bring so much information to our fingertips (until the latest cellular broadband gets flooded and has to be scrapped and replaced again--1G, 2G, EV-DO, EDGE, 3G, 4G, LTE--good grief, the history of cellular networks is like the history of the razor blade. I think we're on 5G with razor blades now). But, our infatuation is misplaced. Yes, computers have raw processing power, all those mips. But they don't process information the same as our brains. Our brains are bionic. They're OP.
Going back to the college football schedules, what I wanted to find was a very quick way to scan the whole season, jump to any team's schedule, see their rank, get team and opponent analysis, see the point spreads for today's games, see very quickly what times and what channels on MY tv the games are to be televised, and anything else I could think of. To be sure, all of this information exists. It absolutely exists. Out there. On the internet. I just have to hunt for it. And that's the time sink I'm talking about. And it's why there are experts at this field. The experts are the ones spending their whole life hunting and gathering this information. Hunter/gatherer. Primitive.
Our brains are capable of processing so much information in such a short time. And they are very sensitive to very small things. Things computers are light years from understanding. The best movie actors act with their faces, and they don't overact or we call that comedy. A small narrowing of the eyes can convey an emotional bouquet that would take millions of words to describe. Our brains process that without the words, without if/thens or flowcharts, or other computing constructs. Or, think about when you're driving in your car on a road that's new to you, looking for a destination that's new to you. There's a lot of fatigue. That same road, after you've driven it a few times, is relaxing, and the time goes by faster. There are millions and millions of pieces of information being processed by your brain the first time you drive that. Not just the speed limit and warning signs and traffic conditions. The leaves on the trees. The colors. The smells in the car and coming in off the road. The vibrations and bumps felt. The sounds of the car, the road, the radio. The blood in your veins. Heartbeat. Blood pressure. Digestion. Detox. Sweat. Tears. Breath. Conversations before the drive. Concern over kids, retirement, aging parents, lost love, all those other things that are occupying brainpower on the back burner, sliding forward at interesting intervals.
So what do I want from the college football sites, and from all web sites and all computer programs? I want a firehose. I want what Neo got in the matrix with the training programs. That thing is the least fiction of any science fiction I have ever seen. But, it will never happen. Why? Money. All of the Money have taken over information technology and their vested interest is in creating time sinks. facebook wants you spending hours and hours and hours on their site. Games use clever techniques to trap your mind. Other web sites do it clumsily and maybe inadvertently, thinking that they are organizing information well, but still trap us uselessly for hours. And porn, well, yeah. These digital all stars are the new predators. Predators that prey on bionic minds. They are the new boob tube. The new idiot box.
We are bionic. In cages of digital kryptonite.
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