Waiting for Da Vinci

Luís Ángel Fernández Hermana - @luisangelfh
14 June, 2016
Editorial: 4
Fecha de publicación original: 30 enero, 1996

Date of publication: 30/01/1996. Editorial 004.

“You may gape long enough, ere a bird fall into your mouth”

Who will the Leonardo da Vinci’s of the electronic Renaissance be? Who will the artists that manage to capture the energy and imagination of millions of internauts be? Where will the creative movement arise that takes full advantage of the services that the networks offer in particular their ability for instant publication and communication in an interactive environment? What “works” will remain as the indisputable legacy of the foundations of cyberspace? All these questions, which could be summed up by the first, are under discussion on the Internet.

Any attempt to answer them immediately gives rise to the great dilemma of our era, i.e. what are the objectives of this magnetic, invasive, omnipresent technological evolution? The dilemma takes the form of a growing underlying struggle between technological development, on the one hand, and the content which gives it sense, on the other. Internet has instantly and universally highlighted this contradiction which has determined the evolution of our society over the last three decades, and particularly over the last three years. We have inherited a fascination for technology- a fascination which has singular features. The most outstanding and crucial being that technological advance has happened in spite of ourselves, it has entered our lives sometimes subtly, sometimes with rough incursions, and, finally, we have scarcely been able to influence either the shape it has taken, let alone its content (if and when that has existed).

Interactive communication in the networks is beginning to alter this scenario. Millions of people, organisations, and enterprises are becoming communicators under optimum conditions: easy access, vast audiences, the possibility of designing an information menu to suit the tastes of the consumer and all this instantaneously and with the added possibility of being able to interact with the addressee.

This is an initiation rite of proportions that nobody, not even the experts in social communication or theoreticians of the global village, had ever imagined. This energy represents a new challenge which is in character with cyberspace namely that the the predominance of technological development, which will inevitably fight bitterly to maintain the rhythm of its innovations, so crucial for its survival, will be questioned more and more by the avalanche of initiatives from millions of internauts interested in finding out how they can use new technology to express their own interests.

At the moment, this contradiction takes the form of a constant flow of new technological possibilities, there before the existing ones have been completely explored, giving weight to the dominant argument of the technologists. Technology companies are obliged to feed this continuing evolution in order to survive on the global market. However, the renaissance in the communications age will have to staunch the flow of technical innovations to turn the creative process of its protagonists into a historical category. Vint Cerf, one of the founding fathers of TCP/IP, in the latest issue of On the Internet published by ISOC, assures us that “the rest of the 1990’s belongs to the content providers who will use the rapidly evolving infrastructure to bring increasingly sophisticated material to customers”.

In the information age, Da Vinci has many heads, many skills and many forms. The time has come for all of them to come into their own in order to seal their commitment to technological development through content, which will crystalise in bringing about change in education, business, politics, social relations and personal activities. All this will engender a world whose exact topography is impossible to divine from our present perspective.

Roll on, Da Vinci!

Translation: Bridget King