I am hijacking my own website here, but for a good cause and what I am going to do with it is not very far from its original purpose. I will be talking about a press, by which I mean a publishing company, but mostly about the books it publishes.
Please visit the site about Very Large Scale Social Data Collection. You will see that it is about collecting a vast amount of information about each person in society. Megabytes.
Go over the argument carefully if you must, but for now just consider what could be done with that much information. What if a person writes a book? Whether fiction or non-fiction, much of the character of the author will be reflected in the book.
It works the other way, too. What if a person reads a book? Doing so will make some change in the reader, whose character will in some way echo that of the book’s author.
This is not minor academic point, a truism without much significance. In my time I have read a great many books. I can point out specific ones which had a strong influence on me, contributing to my education, shaping my thoughts and affecting my personality.
Many of us would say the same.
The enormous amount of information collected about an author would not be the only thing to define a book, but I think that the reflection of author in book is important. It would be an enormous aid in the understanding of how our literature developed.
Books form only a small part of human culture, but a very important one. Not only do they help describe their readers, they help describe human society and culture.
Since the beginning of my work on Social Technology I have written about how high-tech methods could make human society work. I see now that some of this was naive, since I neglected the possibility of extracting large amounts of data about individuals and using it against them. All is not lost, though. There are ways of using the strengths of human culture to help defeat those who would try to use it for their own advantage. I feel sure that malicious people would ignore the best parts of our culture, much of it contained in books.
I developed many of my own ideas while in the process of writing experimental fiction. Naive thought they many have been, there is a core of truth in them. If we can somehow resist the evil effects of this new information revolution, what I have described could benefit society enormously. To that end I am writing a new book, also fiction but perhaps less experimental. No longer do I need to work out ideas in my own head, now I need to get them out there for others to read.