Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Challenges of technology

TL;DR -- We have looked at the 400 years. At the 150th timeframe, we split. And, now are at a 250th stop and review time. We have been doing that. Rivers were (and are) important. There are other resources. Somehow, the American dream has become, arrive and start to take. Oh, the older families did? Not really. We can show thousands of families whose contribution has been similar. Oh yes, there have been those who exploited, mainly. Now, technology? Will it help get sustainable versus just add to the inequities? That might be one of the challenges. 


Quora got our attention in that their approach does approximate scholarship, somewhat. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, thereby has a constrained view. There are other sites that allow free flowing discussions. The genealogy sites are an example. 

Quora has had many threads on technology include artificial intelligence. Here is an example question that generated lots of viewpoints: 

Why is that with modern technology the US has not diverted surplus water from the Mississippi River to drought devasted California and other western states as was done through Aqueducts by the Romans thousands of years ago?

Most questions are not this long. And, there have been other questions of a similar nature. What got our attention was this map. We have shown many maps the past few years, but this one is related to views that can be formed using modern technology. 

Answer by E. Allwell

Another thing about Quora is its contributors. Erik Painter, native Californian, is an example and has good response to this question to which we provide a link. 

This question, as of today, had 44 answers. Some are quite brief. The two referenced here are thorough and not short. Another thing of the new media is the huge potential readership which can increase the number of views to an answer. Those add up: E. Allwell has over 25M views; Eric Painter has nearly 14M. 

An issue is, how good is an answer? We can assess that partly by looking at other answers by the person. But, the subject matters covered run the gamut. And, this is a phenomenon that goes across the web. We can look at the growth just like we looked at the coverage of the railroad over the interior of the U.S. 

There are automated means that read, parse, and present summaries. This related to AI or other means for handling text. It's never-ending in the sense that we have not seen a quiescence point ever. Not that such could not happen as we saw with airline traffic into the U.S. after 9/11 or even some of the recent flight issues related to decisions about the pandemic. 

Given the growing scope, there must be efforts put toward curating information. And, for the TGS, Inc., our interests cover more than genealogy. Too, the historic connections have been known for some time, hence we see the New England Historic Genealogical Society. One huge topic is culture and its association. 

Remarks: Modified: 01/04/2022

01/04/2022 --

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