(How to Avoid Being Roadkill on
the Information Superhighway)

1996 All Rights Reserved
Richard R. Orsinger

VIII. ELIMINATING THE NEED FOR CONCURRENCY WILL CHANGE OUR VERY LIVES. Methods of communication and information transmission that exist today, and that are being developed, will liberate people from the burden of having to coincide in space and time. When concurrency in space and time is no longer required, people will be free to accomplish tasks when and where they want. Precious time will no longer be lost just trying to coincide with other people in space or in time, as a prelude to actually doing something. This freedom from concurrency will change our work habits, and our private lives, both at the individual level and at the societal level. We should identify the process of liberation from concurrency, and exploit the advantages.

The need for concurrency in space is being eliminated in part by the digitizing of information traditionally stored on paper. Digitizing means converting information (any kind of information) to 1's and 0's. Once information is digitized, it can be read and processed by computers, and you no longer have to go where the data is located to see it. It can be transmitted to anyone, anywhere, who is linked by wire or by radio to the telephone system. The need for concurrency in space is also being eliminated by technology that permits both visual and sound information to be transmitted instantaneously across telephone lines and through radio waves. People will be able to project a "telepresence," which will be good enough in many situations to substitute for an actual physical presence. This will permit "virtual meetings" in which people can look at each other and talk to each other as if they are in each other's presence, but in reality everyone is just interacting with an electro-mechanical reconstruction of what the other person looks like and says. The need for concurrency in time is being eliminated by the acceptance of voice-mail and e-mail that permit people in different places and at different times to store information when it is convenient to store it, to be seen or heard by others when it is convenient to receive it, and "groupware" that permits many people from different places to collaborate on one project at different times.

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Created August 28, 1996
Last updated August 28, 1996