79 Instant Messages: On Riding ‘In Post’

It’s funny to read about an era where speedy communications meant setting up a system for couriers to switch from one horse to another. This Montaigne essay anticipates the Information Age by detailing a number of the clever systems created through history to speed the flow of information.

And that’s it. There’s nothing terribly interesting to quote and no larger lesson to draw from it.

We now take for granted that anything that happens anywhere on the planet will be captured immediately on a video phone, uploaded on YouTube and Tweeted to the world. Soon enough it will become astonishing that we haven’t always had the ability to do this and more.

And assuming we don’t blow up the world or get invaded by aliens or nanobots, soon enough our technology will look just as silly and archaic as tying notes to pigeons and training them to fly back and forth from office to office.

None of these technologies are good or bad, they just sate a human need to know things quickly and accurately. Perhaps someday there will be a device that hooks into our unconscious so that we’ll know what we’re going to do – and so can others — before we consciously decide to do it.

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