Information greed — behavior strategy in which a person reduces the amount of information, which they share with subscribers in social networks, in favour of a deep study of the information coming to them and creation the final product on its basis: articles, studies, etc. (this concept is described by journalist Alexander Amzin in his book “Haphazard tips” [Russian edition “Бессистемные советы”]).

Person is a conductor of interesting information for his real and network friends and spends a lot of resources to find and share something interesting in social networks. Such activity brings a person nothing but weak communication and friends entertainment. Thus, person works on society, but gets nothing useful like payment, deep knowledge or skills.

Sharing information, person instantly receives reward for this social action expressed in “likes” or comments. This can be called quasi reward, because these approvals are poorly converted into social or financial capital, skills or personal growth of the person. You cannot earn respect and recognition, if you constantly show the raw material that may only underlie the final product.

“Informationally-greedy man” invests time and energy in the final product. This can be an article, a study or a book. Alexander Amzin notes that this behavior opens a new layer of information. This is the way time frees up for reflection on what they saw, arrangement of the notes, sifting out, and for the additional findings. Person begins to use mostly services with personal notes, and channels their efforts into a finished product creation, then discusses it in a narrow circle, and can use the Net only to talk over the unshaped ideas.

“Creation vs. Consumption” opposition — tablets and smartphones are convenient for consuming information and entertainment (reading news feeds, games, video) and inconvenient for content creation or thoughtful analytics.

Tablets and smartphones nearly resemble TV and radio in the way of information consumption, however surprising it sounds. Despite having the interactive features, mobile devices are more optimized for information consumption rather than for its processing. Touch screen interface often does not allow the user to control the process of working with information. Keyboard, mouse and pen are far more suitable for working with charts, tables, text editing or drawing. In addition, some programs for analysis or content creation have no mobile versions, or if they do have, these versions have limited functionality.

A feedback of the businessman from St. Petersburg: “I noticed that after the tablet had replaced my laptop, I started to devote noticeably less time to company analytics. Excel is not handy on the tablet: mouse absence makes it inconvenient to manage tables. If earlier I could actively engage in analytics on my laptop even on the road, now I need to take special time in the office.”

This leads to that the users of desktop computers become the only creators of content. The opposition “Creation vs. Consumption” is one of the factors which aggravates digital divide and needs to be overcame.

The New TV

The tablet and smartphone can be called a new TV or a new radio, these devices are totally couch-aimed. Given usage pattern is advantageous to the entrepreneurs who plan their businesses to be built on the principles of “attention economy”. In the future recommendation mechanisms will evolve to such an extent that the user will not need to make any effort to select and ingest information. Just get a smartphone and look.

Futurologist Alexander Bard (before becoming a techno philosopher he participated in the one-time hot trio “Army of Lovers”) in his book “Netocracy: The New Power Elite and Life After Capitalism” foretells the division of future society into two classes. The ruling class — netocracy, mobile citizens of the world. They form virtual elite groups using the Internet as a mean of social ties establishment. Netocrats participate in the values and meanings creation. And opposed to netocracy — the lowest oppressed tier of society — consumtariat (a kind of a consumer proletariat). Such people are usually called “couch potatoes”. They are lifelong TV viewers and feeble participants of the consumption chains. They are only capable of consumption, but not of making any new values.

Screens’ future

In the new perfect world personal screens will be only a part of the global advertising network. The screens will round us up, and sneak into our homes absolutely free (for instance, such a wording: “You can buy the same fridge, but with the screen, and it will cost you twenty percent cheaper!”). Contextual advertising will go beyond the Net. Google has already voiced confidence that in a few years, many companies worldwide will place advertising on the dashboards, thermostats, glasses, watches and other items. Even if you do not go online, advertising from the Internet will find you.

Personalized advertising the film “Minority Report”


Craftsmen and artists who work closely with the tool note that “special mode of interaction with material and model, subtle shades and consistency distinction is a different and very deep and absorbing world […] open only to those who actually constantly nurse the tools and natural materials” (quote of an artist Oleg Paschenko). For example, when the artist draws in pencil, he feels the pressure, the slightest changes in color, paper resistance. An artist’s tool also defines the mode of interaction with the model. So, the path of the pen when drawing repeats the movement of an artist’s eyes when they look carefully at the architectural ensemble of the medieval Cathedral. As sharply noted by one paintress, interaction mode with touch-screen can be described as “poking”, which is then extended by people to interaction with the world around them.

Open awareness — the state when the mind balances between concentration and scattered attention, evoking new ideas. In this state, a person perceives reality as it is, listens to the inner voice, and reflects on previous experience. It is rather common to grasp the sudden insights and solutions to the actual problems. Open awareness is the source of the most creative thoughts.

Another name of this state is “ineluctable modality of the visible”. The term owes its origin to the novel “Ulysses” written by James Joyce. So calls his state Stephen Dedalus when walking on the sea shore in the third episode of the novel. This term Joyce calls the state in which a person keeps track of their thoughts without trying to control them and freely perceives everything that is happening. In this state the brain synthesizes incoherent, at first glance, ideas and feelings, and then turns them into a new meaning. The brain doesn’t focus on the one particular problem, and consequently consciousness catches random associations, which leads to the innovative discoveries.

Keenness on gadgets contributes to the fact that modern people rarely experience the open awareness state. Network gadgets place a person in the endless chain of notifications and messages that call for attention. Social networks continuously hold out cutting-edge information. The state of boredom and loneliness become elusive and unbearable. Even when a person is on their own, they are rarely left alone with their thoughts.

Reactionary character of thought

People both work and play with information, simply by changing its type. This permanent cognitive load impedes free wandering of thoughts, and it gets more and more difficult for people to come up with new ideas and to realize their personal experience as well. Instead of letting the thoughts flow freely and unite into contiguity, the new way of thinking is being formed. Such mindset implies that most thoughts of a human are not independent impulses, but a reluctant answer or reaction to the information coming from the Internet. The secondary character of this way of thinking is obvious.

The “Digital Vocabulary” is a unique project. Nowadays, a great many write about technology’s impact on mankind (I’ve read almost everything of that, therefore my judgement can be called authoritative), but only Alex and Dmitry could comprehend, make it loud and simple, show it from an unexpected point of view, bring in their own insights and create a fabulous in its depth analytical portal, which considers all the aspects of the homo digitalis life. It is remarkable that both voluntarily Internet-addicted and committed techno luddites and media ascetics would find a lot of exciting things. Highly recommended to all fans of pushing the boundaries of reality: “Digital Vocabulary” provides a detailed 3D-model of the digital world and tools to its contemplation.

Irina Gusinskaya
Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Head of Interactive Publishing at Alpina Publisher