February 13, 2010

New Net Addiction: Aardvark

Oh man, I have problems now. If you've seen my earlier posts, you may have noticed that I'm a bit interested in the internet. Now I'm getting addicted to Aardvark (recently acquired by Google, by the way). However, this is quite a different addiction from any of my earlier internet opiates (like cracked.com, the google reader, wikipedia or achewood). This is the first of my addictions where I'm actually required to play an active role in information production/exchange.

Ok, so, some background on that. In my opinion, one of the primary problems of the creative mind is something I call consumption dependency. Most people love consuming movies, books, art, music and random internet humour. In theory, this is supposed to be a good thing because all the amazing stuff we consume is supposed to feed into the amazing stuff we produce. Unfortunately, the problem with the net is that it presents us with a neverending ocean of consumable information. Faced with such a bounty of cool stuff, the mind is numbed into repetitious consumption and no production whatsoever. This is what I call consumption dependency. Aardvark also thrives on consumption dependency to some extent, allowing users to post random queries into its search box like any other search engine. However, the difference is that Aardvark also creates some sort of production outlet, transferring those same questions to other users who have professed (some) knowledge of the field relevant to that question. So if someone were to ask the cold, uncaring internet for their opinion on a Kurt Vonnegut book, they could actually get a reply back from someone who knows something about Kurt Vonnegut (or at least books in general). This actually makes me feel productive while doing nothing more than answering trivia questions. Wonderful! I should quit my job!

Ok, so the other reason Aardvark seems like fun is that it allows you to feel just a little bit like a know-it-all. Need answers on efficient labelling in gmail? Which post-cyberpunk SF novel to read next? Where to get decent dimsums in Chennai? I'm the goddamn Oracle!

So, in conclusion. Illusions of productivity + Delusions of Grandeur = Oh no not another deadly but irresistable waste of internet time. In the context of the evolution of the net, however, this could just be the next big thing.


Anonymous said...

My advice to you is to do what your parents did, get a job sir...

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