On August 24, 2016, Business Insider published an article by Chris Weller speculating on libraries of the future. Here's an
Your idea of a library might be a musty, carpeted room with outdated technology, but don't ditch your library card just yet.
According to David Pescovitz, co-editor at Boing Boing and research director at the Institute for the Future, a Palo Alto-based
collective that makes forecasts about our world, it's likely in the coming decades that society's traditional understanding of a
library will get completely upended.
In 50 years' time, Pescovitz tells Business Insider, libraries are poised to become all-in-one spaces for learning, consuming,
sharing, creating, and experiencing — to the extent that enormous banks of data will allow people to "check out" brand-new
realities, whether that's scaling Mt. Everest or living out an afternoon as a dog.
To understand how libraries will change by the mid-21st century, Pescovitz says people need to understand what function they currently
serve. At their core, libraries in the information age provide a public means of accessing knowledge, he says. That's what people
The hallmark of future libraries, meanwhile, will be hyper-connectivity. They'll reflect our increasing reliance on social media,
streaming content, and open-source data.
Several decades from now, libraries will morph even further.
Pescovitz speculates that humans will have collected so much data that society will move into the realm of downloading sensory data.
What we experience could be made available for sharing.
"Right now the world is becoming instrumented with sensors everywhere — sensors in our bodies, sensors in our roads, sensors in our
mobile phones, sensors in our buildings — all of which all collecting high-resolution data about the physical world," he says.
"Meanwhile, we're making leaps in understanding how the brain processes experiences and translates that into what we call
That could lead to a "library of experiences."
In such a library, Pescovitz imagines that you could "check out" the experience of going to another planet or inhabiting the
mind of the family dog.
What probably won't change that much are librarians and the physical spaces they watch over. Pescovitz suspects that humans will
always need some sort of guide to make a foreign landscape more familiar. Whether humanity turns that job into one for artificial
intelligence is another matter, he says.
"We talk a lot about information and the information age, but really what I think people are looking for is wisdom and
knowledge," Pescovitz says.
That has been true for thousands of years and will continue to be true for thousands more, no matter how weird the future might get.
To read the complete article, see:
Libraries of the future are going to change in some unexpected
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