Digital Evolution – Woohoo!

Stages in human evolutionWarning: Some major digital philosophical jabbering up ahead! Continue at your own risk:

Apple has been busy removing the BitCoin apps that allowed you to buy or transfer the digital currency from the App Store. Last week I wrote my personal view on what is going on with BitCoin, and the possible and logical future of a digital currency. No matter how you cut it, even if you like or dislike the ‘coin’, there is a very strong concept to it. And one thing we have seen in the recent history of information technology, is that a good concept will cling, and will evolve.

A couple of weeks ago, I also read the news that WinAmp was pulling the plug. To be honest, I couldn’t care less, this while I have had a long history with the player in the late 90’s and early 00’s. WinAmp was the tool to play MP3 music with, before people used their MP3 players. Nice, sitting behind your PC, downloading music from way too weird sites, even before Napster showed up, and best of all, you could skin the application.

But I never was fanatic in using it. But, I think a good tool like WinAmp contributes to the success that digital music has these days. Napster introduced the world to the concept of file-sharing, which was then more perfected by tools like LimeWire, and eventually resulted in technologies like torrents. But without a successful player, it would also all not have taken off so well. Of course, this was all in a shady past. If this dark history of stealing music in such a way did not happen, iTunes would never showed the success of buying digital music, and more present legit services like Pandora, Spotify, X-BOX music, would never existed.

The same thing goes for downloading movies and television shows, posting them on YouTube, that eventually resulted in successful endeavors like Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Vevo and such.

“Hypocrite!”

Did I hear someone in the audience call me that? Ah, yes, if you have read this blog longer, you know I am actually very much against piracy. This is simply because knowing what the costs are to run a business in this branch, and seeing people claiming the right to do with what you produced with your blood, sweat and tears simply feels wrong. In the global picture, it will lead to very good new developments that also even out the market a bit. It still does not give someone the right to just bypass the system and do as they want.

It is not only for the producing party that the piracy is hard; remember, not all developers are backed by gigantic billion-dollar corporations. But most of them are small companies, run part time after a regular daytime job. And people are paying for it. How can you justify someone that pays for your service, if others can just take it and use it for free.

But, from a global standpoint, every problem will be met by a solution, which will turn into an opportunity.  Not the survival of the fittest, but the endurance of the concept. Napster introduced the world to a very efficient way of downloading information from one central point in the user’s experience, but actually have data distributed across many locations on the available web. Hello cloud! This way nothing is relying on one single computer to be accessible.

The same thing will happen with BitCoin. It might not be the currency that will be there and successful in five or ten years. Or maybe it is. But there will be something else that describes digital value. Maybe the lack of an authority being responsible for the currency will finally lead to the existence of a correct online authority that takes responsibility. Not something that is rooted in a country, but something that is a global effort to think digital, not in our human reality.

A digital property doesn’t have a value as we understand it. We understand the value that it is to produce something digital, because we put it in there. But since the existence of a program in the web is not met by the limitations of the physical world, values are also completely different. Distribution, aging, development, improvement; evolution – it is simply different. Also, something the world of Open Source shows, eventually working in large quantities to add and improve technology, is supporting this scenario.

Sure, it sounds very much Terminator-like. One big digital existence, even with it’s own set of values etc. But it is not quite like it. See it as a massive library of tools, information, and functionality. A big Swiss Army knife with a billion uses. Eventually the digital world will become more massive than we now comprehend. But in the end, it is still sharing of information.

As any good programmer can tell you; it is all still build up by a basic set of functionalities, no matter what you do. And it is an evolution that is not from the last 20 years, it has started in ancient times when people developed languages as a means of communication to make life more civilized and effective. We are still doing that. but just moving forward.

That doesn’t mean, by the way, that I am that progressive myself. I still love the way of living am used to. But sometimes my ideas need to evolve too I guess.

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