Art

CyberOr II The Boundary Crossing

Art by Phillip Ratner This is a  series by Dr. Rabbi Moshe Dror. He is a futurist, lecturer and teacher. In this series he will explore the hidden meanings of the great stories of the Bible. In this time of profound changes Dr. Dror will help unpack some of the hidden gems waiting to shine light through the inspiration of the revealed text. We hope you will be inspired by this series and encourage your comments.

Abraham’s journey was in geographic space– ours is in cyberspace. His frontier was the desert –our frontier is Cyberia… our journey of the 21st century. We are all aware that we are in a conceptual shift from the modern world to a postmodern world. I want to suggest that we are in a post-post modern world, what is called a Trans- modern world. We are all part of the Net generation and we are all Netizens of Cyberia.

Welcome.

I want to suggest that our generation is the one that is a boundary crosser of being in the digital world. As Nicholas Negroponte suggests we are the generation that is shifting from seeing the world as atoms and learning how to see our world in terms of bits. This shift from atoms to bits is probably one of the most significant and powerful boundary crossings in human history.

Negroponte is the author of the significant book “Being Digital” and the director of the Media Lab at MIT.

As Negroponte writes:” the best way to appreciate the merits and consequences of being digital is to reflect on the difference between bits and atoms…”

The transition from an industrial age to a post-industrial or information age has been discussed often. Basically, the industrial age was an age of atoms based on the manufacturing of material. The information age is based on bits of data that have less regard for space and time. We are now in a post-information age, a post digital age. All of the vast amount of words, images, sounds, videos, music that goes over the internet –all are grouped into trillions of combinations of eight bits that make up what we call bytes and are encoded in sequences of zeroes and ones.

Consider this. The shift from primitive humans into hunter- gatherer culture took tens of thousands of years. Later, the shift from hunter-gathering to agriculture took thousands of years. The shift from agriculture to the industrial age took many centuries. Still more recently, the shift from the industrial age to the information age took about two centuries. From the information age to the post- information age and the digital age is taking one generation only. This is the famous “Third Wave” theory of Alvin Toffler.

I still find it difficult to know that half of the ten richest people in the world got so much wealth from an industry that is younger than I am. I am older that the first computer.

At MIT there is even a Center for Bits and Atoms, -which is an ambitious interdisciplinary initiative that is looking beyond the end of the Digital Revolution…

CyberOr and my journey is about how this major human transformation can impact on the Jewish world and on Judaism as we live through the rest of the 21st century.

To be continued…

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