Nick Kallen on Information Technology and Heaps

This piece by Nick Kallen really made me think. First on defining “heaps”:

Would you describe a single grain of wheat as a heap? No. Would you describe two grains of wheat as a heap? No…. You must admit the presence of a heap sooner or later, so where do you draw the line?

And then:

Consider the process of voting. If no one voted, one vote would affect the outcome. But if millions of people vote, one vote makes little difference. In fact, the defining characteristic of the modern era is that every aspect of society is heaping.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009