Re: Push-Technology and Technology News

Michael Lorrey (
Sun, 16 Mar 1997 14:54:41 -0500

Hal Finney wrote:
> There's something I don't understand about all the excitement over push.
> It seems to me that the push concept conflates two relatively independent
> ideas: content filtering, and when-available delivery.
> Content filtering is what lets you select what you are going to see.
> That's what we have now when you do a web search on a topic, or when you
> bookmark a web page which serves as an index or entry into a subject of
> interest. This is definately a good thing, but existing technologies leave
> a lot to be desired. I have a hard time finding all the information I want
> on the web (but the web is still orders of magnitude better than any other
> alternative I have used, primarily libraries).
> When-available delivery provides you information as it happens. This sounds
> great for sports scores or the latest business news. Lots of stuff happening
> there. But it's not clear to me that it applies that well to topics beyond
> the most superficial popular subjects. Most areas that I am interested in
> don't have that much progress. Maybe a new paper gets published every few
> weeks or months that is really interesting or important.
> What worries me is that it is just going to be TV all over again -
> the lowest common denominator. Those areas which work best with push
> are going to be the ones where information dribbles out all the time -
> corporate press releases, soap operas, headline news, the stock market
> ticker, the same old garbage. That's not what I go to the web for.
> The web is an infinite library, holding all kinds of information.
> The real problem is not in getting the information delivered, it is in
> finding it. Once I've found a web page that provides a reasonably complete
> overview of a field, with lots of other links to relevant pages, then I
> have a good source. Yes, it would be useful to be notified when the links
> change or some new information is provided. Push does have a place there.
> But it's not going to revolutionize my usage of the web, unless the web is
> just going to turn into TV.

However, there are often numerous pages, as well as others popping up or
dissapearing every now and again. Additionally, there are numerous
subjects one may be interested in, as well as degrees of association.
Several months ago we were talking about intelligent agents that we use
to hunt for webcontent that we are interested in, an agent that can
learn to fine tune its foraging to better reflect our real needs, as
well as evolve as our own tastes change over time. Push technology is
merely the beginning of such agents.

Rather than looking at push as simply slow TV, think of it as customized
TV. Last month I was lamenting that the channels and shows I liked on
the tube were so spread out that it was a pain in the butt to hunt for
them and keep track of what I want to watch when, so much so that I
often miss things I wanted to see, and see nothing interesting when I
have the time available. Push technology is like a smart VCR. I would
love for the cable company to offer the ability for each customer to put
their ten or twenty favorite channels all in the 1-10 or 1-20 slots, so
you dont have to go skipping through the channel spectrum. This is a
need that is becoming more prevalent as more and more channels are added
to the dial.

Rather than lament this sign of media convergence, we need to recognise
that we are the exceptions, the elites in the new order. Our tastes are
not necessarily the same as the masses. THey are much more used to and
demanding of the practice of being led around by the nose ring. They
typically do not want to have to think about that which is not immediate
to them. Recognising this, we can use this trend to our advantage in our
memetic engineering. Seeing Reilly Jones' excellent commentary of Stove
critiques of irrationality in our intellectual and memetic landscapes, I
am struck by the idea of using push media to push extropic memes into
the mainstream just as irrationalist thinkers did the same in our higher
educational system.

While it seems paradoxical to propose using entropic methods or media
techniques to spread extropic meme's, we need to recognise that methods
and techniques are not the message, nor are they themselves entropic,
merely that they have been used by entropic forces up to this point in
time. We need to realize that the masses will always demand watered down
versions of "the truth", they can't take 200 proof TRUTH without
overdosing and having an allergic reaction. Diluted doses of any foreign
agent builds up a tolerance over time.

Michael Lorrey
Northstar Technologies Agent
Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

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