For me, Lev’s article on database and narrative has highlighted the increasing importance between these two in the current age of information explosion. With the advent of cheaper storage and bigger datacenters, there is no longer a problem of lack of data of any form; textual, visual, audio etc. The challenge is how we can contextualise and arrange these vast corpus into something meaningful.
In my view, the Google search engine is possibly the biggest database-based ‘interactive’ that exists in the world. I think it’s much more than just a search engine. Its many capabilities include natural language interpretation, image recognition(somewhat useable), user context linking etc. Its clearly the most massive form of algorithms + databases mankind has ever witnessed.
On a philosophical level, I think it’s fair to argue that Google has played a tremendous part in people’s life. Let me provide a hypothetical example.
Imagine you are a young, lost, disinterested teenager, on a typical day, plowing through your daily social media routine. You regularly use Google for school work, research and the occasional trivial. You spot something interesting under Youtube recommendations, you watch a short clip of scientific trivial, which in turns pique your interest for more. Piling google search upon google search, you develop an interest in the topic. Fast forward a decade, you are now working hard on a research paper that might change the way people think about a certain topic.
This sounds like a typical plot of a budget Hollywood film; it could very well be. But I think the Internet has definitely changed the lives of many around the world, mainly through vast information dissemination. This form of empowerment is driven mostly, by search engines of course. The humble search engine has invariably been instrumental in crafting and shaping the stories of our lives, professional and personal.
And anyone that has gotten on the ‘web’ has interacted with this database and left a mark of his/her narrative in the digital(and possibly physical) world.