On an optimistic note.

Monday, January 8th, 2007

I’m not much for resolutions or other yearend foomfah, but I do believe in staring one’s year looking optimistically at the road ahead. It’s also a nice antidote when there have been some tough bumps to get over.

There are a raft of positive notes raised in answer to the question “What are you optimistic about?” over on the Edge Foundation‘s site, but this one resonates with me, in part because it is a modern evocation of the “sunlight rule” of journalism and in part because geolocation, geocoding, geopresence, and other things geo are fascinating to me right now.

So. One of the answerers, Chris DiBona of Google asserts (hopes?):

Widely Available, Constantly Renewing, High Resolution Images of the Earth Will End Conflict and Ecological Devastation As We Know It

I am not so much of a fool to think that war will end, no matter how much I wish that our shared future could include such a thing. Nor do I think that people will stop the careless destruction of flora and fauna for personal, corporate, national or international gain. I do believe that the advent of rapidly updating, citizenry-available high resolution imagery will remove the protection of the veil of ignorance and secrecy from the powerful and exploitative among us. (more)

Somehow that captures the spirit of more than a few who work at Google, that their work can have positive side benefits for their fellow humans as it brings gazillions of dollars in added stock valuation. Maybe some at Microsoft or Apple or, hell, Time Warner have that same sense of mission (it does, after all, make it easier to go to work in the morning), but at the G-place it certainly seems to seep from their pores. This in itself, however is not sufficient insurance against any large organization of people (corporate, political) suddenly finding themselves, through inertia, the laws of large numbers, or individual fear and avarice, doing eeeeevil.

But as long as we have ways to expose eeeeevil to the sunlight of publicity (meaning in its purest sense bringing it to the attention of the public as a whole), I have lots of room for optimism about the human condition(s).