Thursday, September 9, 2010

On the new Google Instant and serendipity or why serendipity will save the bat

Serendipity is the discovery of something when looking for something completely different - it's the prototype of a fortunate discovery. Think 1492, Post-It, the little blue pills and similar. When the new Google instant was first announced I thought that it might add another tool in the toolbox of serendipity.

Cars in the pedestrian zone
Cars in the pedestrian zone

But it will be different. Google tries to guess what you are looking for. So the probability for discovering something you were not looking for is declining. Only leaves you with the possibility of hours of browsing the wikipedia.

The strange thing is that while we are trying to eliminate serendipity in our daily life, there are people out there who live of serendipity: People whose work involves creativity. And I am not only talking about artists alone.

I talk about all of us.

Serendipity has a function in society. It makes people have a pool of ideas you can stumble upon, it helps to maintain the diversity of thoughts. It fights the monoculture of mind. It makes you learn something and develop new things. Curiosity might have killed the cat, but serendipity will save the bat.

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