1.0 Our timeline

A timeline is a window on our origins. And, as we enter the era of digital humanity, this point of the journey we’re on now has been a long time coming.

Humankind has always wanted to achieve. It’s part of the human instinct to progress, to reach ever greater heights, to go ‘where no man has gone before’. This desire has been core to our survival.

The digital world is indeed a new frontier. And if we think of this digital journey we’re on as an evolutionary one, not just an inflection point, that long-term perspective can foster a conscious, collective sense about what we’re doing as we enter an age now powered by code.

I think the digital era needs to be seen this way to be fully understood. Being digital is part of the long-term continuum. It’s something to consider in the context of the ages if we want to ensure it sure it stands us in good stead for the future.

History reminds us of useful information about who we are. It’s a shorthand of our origins, our legacy and provenance from the past. It contains what we have already know. We can either choose to ignore our history, or listen and learn from it.

What we are beginning to understand is the digital world is a profoundly new chapter. The binary nature of digital code changes the way we think. It is as profound a shift in thinking as the emergence of perspective in the Renaissance.

It is this dual and binary nature of code that is an essential element, part of the DNA, of this new age. In the digital age, the ability to hold opposable views, and to balance the equal and opposite nature of man and machine simultaneously, will be central to our existence and our ability to thrive in it.

As we enter the Digital Era, the voices of disquiet about what code may mean for us are growing. From the BCE, the ‘Before Common Era’ to C.E., the ‘Common Era’, to D.E. and the ‘Digital Era’ – thinking about what it means to be a digital human, co-existing with code in the context of history, allows us to see more clearly that there is a line to draw in the sands of time.

In thinking about the digitization of the world in this way, it becomes easier to countenance the idea that the Digital Era opens up the possibilities for us to adopt new approaches and ways of thinking and being, and that perhaps this might help us handle the shift better.

The timeline of our history is a data trail we can learn from, however things emerge from here. As digital curators, possibly even as survivors as the robots arrive, our timeline is a gift, handed down from our ancestors, to be explored, honoured and taken with us into the future as we go digital.

This section of Emergent code is a story about that timeline.