October 30, 2007
|The World Awakes||Science/Technology|
Interesting article about a visit to Google headquarters, which is pretty much a paradise for its employees. I found this passage striking — and beautful:
In the lobby area of Building 43, a flat-screen monitor features a fancy, gorgeous representation of the planet Earth, revolving on its axis. As the world turns, fountains of variously colored sparkly light shoot up from the earth's surface. The efflorescence is a real-time representation of Google search activity. The different colors represent different languages. As the United States rotates by, an explosion of red streams into the stratosphere. Mexico is a slightly less busy yellow. China is mostly asleep, Europe a riotous rainbow. Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly completely dark.
I stood with two Google employees and watched the world go round, mesmerized, once again, at the sheer spectacle of human curiosity. All over the world, people wake up, log on, and start searching. This is what we do. If one of the quintessential traits of humanity is an endless quest for more knowledge (or porn), then here is how it can look — a technicolored extravaganza, an endless tsunami of fireworks. The world as giant brain, with each search a synapse firing. [...]
Staring at that globe, I found it easy to dream of a profusion of color so thick and intense as to drench every inhabited spot on the planet. That there would be no darkness, that surely, with all the world so busily engaged in trying to find things out, that we would end up, somehow, figuring things out. I know we want to.
Bearing that image in mind, how crazily archaic it seems, the way we invest so much political and economic power in so few hands. It's like we think we're still a small band of primates living in the forest somewhere. But it's a big world out there, and it's waking up.