What Mongolian Nomads Teach Us About the Digital Future

What Mongolian Nomads Teach Us About the Digital Future

 Kevin Kelly

People who pack up and transport heir house twice a year become choosy about their possessions. I recently traveled among the nomads of Mongolia for two weeks and had a chance to inspect their belongings. I was there to photograph their traditional practices, which were more intact than I expected. Along the way I discovered the Mongolians may have a few lessons for the future of digital culture.

The population of Mongolia is 3 million. Half of them live in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, which may be the least green city in the world. Drab Soviet apartment blocks cram a town without parks, lawns, or trees. The other half of Mongolians live in deeply rural areas. An abrupt boundary at the edge of the city marks the end of the concrete and the beginning of the infinite grasslands that stretch to the horizon…