I am always interested in the wide array of tasks that can be performed by computer systems. I have mentioned some of the control-related tasks here that resulted in dramatic productivity gains during the nineties. For my agency, those included fuel systems monitoring, sales, and access control, mail processing and cost allocation, printing, vehicle controls and fleet management, etc. I have envisioned a time when I could put a large flat-panel monitor display on the wall that will allow monitoring and control of all the department's operations. This is moving in the direction of the Singularity mentioned by Phil Windley. Vernor Vinge talks about machines becoming superhumanly intelligent. I view this development in a somewhat different way. At some point in time, we should be able to understand the human brain in a way that enables us to augment the restrictive I/O and storage processes that control human learning. At that time we should be able to develop a machine to human interface that allows knowledge to be processed and stored directly to the brain. Then we could develop bluetooth-like brain-to-machine interfaces that allow thought waves to control access to externally stored information.
What does this mean for the future of e-government? I'm not sure right now, but we need to find a way to effectively aggregate and build upon the global knowledge base.
In her book, Brain Matters, Patricia Wolfe discusses how the brain processes information. She quotes Ronald Kotulak who says,
The brain gobbles up its external environment in bites and chunks through its sensory system: vision, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. Then the digested world is reassembled in the form of trillions of connections between brain cells that are constantly growing or dying, or becoming stronger or weaker, depending upon the richness of the banquet
The internal network in the brain is reflected in the global internet where connections are constantly changing based on a connectedness that blogs have supported and enhanced. Communities of interest grow and evolve in ways that enhance the knowledge and capabilities of those who are actively connected. This topic is one that requires much more time than I can dedicate right now.
I just recovered from a major Radio Userland failure yesterday and had to reinstall, not a pleasant experience. I think that the majority of this weblog is now reassembled.