The human need to categorize information

I was pondering earlier. Specifically I was pondering the cost of information in terms of distribution, storage and accessibility. Back in Roman times, information storage was relatively expensive. Stone tablets had to be made to store the information, stonemasons were needed to carve the tablets, the average Roman citizen would not be able to read or afford such tablets. Paper cheapened the cost of information but it was really the invention of the printing press that meant that information was easily reproduced. These days, those of us who live in the majority world use google as often as tap water. 

 I think if I had to pick a human characteristic that defined us as a species it would be information storage. Chimpanzes communicate with one another but they (as far as we know) don’t record hunting grounds, neither do dolphins or wasps. To quote Cory Doctorow “Human beings build encyclopedias like termites build mounds”. This is why we blog, because blogging is the royal jelly of the internet, cultivated by worker drones living humdrum lives and quietly categorizing the world around us into something meaningful.

2 thoughts on “The human need to categorize information

  1. Interesting…thanks for sharing. I suppose I would’ve first gone with “speech”, but looking further your category seems the one.

  2. from one drone to another… it *is* quiet (minus the click-tap of the keyboard) but your thoughts make me think…about our mounds of information in cyberspace (is it ‘matter’? – and yes i believe it matters!)
    thank you for your comment over at my place – and yes I’d love to challenge you to a game… they’re kinda funny on this side of the puddle about which versions we can play – I’ll check it out and see if you can access the same one 🙂 I hope this comment finds you well…and I look forward to reading future electronic encyclopedias via your pen 🙂

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