The Humane Representation of Thought
December 22, 2014 12:36 PM   Subscribe

super interesting, thanks! (chris crawford has been thinking along similar lines ;)

also btw...
-The Myth Of AI
-Jaron Lanier Wants to Secularize AI
-Big data: are we making a big mistake?
-Rise of the Machines: Downfall of the Economy?
-Buffett's Smart-Grid Idea Takes Over Your Washing Machine
-Parable of the Polygons - a playable post on the shape of society [0]
-Homo Sapiens 2.0: Genetic Enhancement and the Future of Humanity
-Silicon Valley might kill banks but not banking [1]
-Seven years of Understanding Society
-Inflation at the Zero Lower Bound
-Network Theory Overview

i'm really fascinated by the methods of organizational adaptation and institutional evolution, particularly wrt culture & technology, how it can be intentionally directed and shaped, and to what purpose? fwiw, i just finished reading _the forest unseen_ and when victor talks about 'dynamic medium/reality' and stuff, i can't help but think he's kind of missing the forest for the trees so to speak :P i mean it'd be great to have computationally-infused objects or whatever that we can share with each other -- and make us more humane? -- but like haskell (heh) just went out to a spot in the forest everyday to observe and try to understand all the intertwined processes going on within nature and our part in it (or lack thereof...) anyway, i'm not sure the limiting factor is the medium; it's us!
posted by kliuless at 4:26 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

vimeo is not really playing for me right now, so I haven't watched this, but I wonder if he considers at all that the problem with stifling the human spirit is the idea of "knowledge work" itself, and not the symbolic means of expression in which we conduct it? I mean, this sounds nice:

...the dynamic medium offers the opportunity to deliberately invent a humane and empowering form of knowledge work. We can design dynamic representations which draw on the entire range of human capabilities — all senses, all forms of movement, all forms of understanding — instead of straining a few and atrophying the rest.

but what is the nature of that work, and who is going to pay us to do it? A lot of the promise of the Internet has cashed out into new forms of marketing and selling ads, as far as actual work goes. If that's what you love doing, then you're in luck. I personally don't find that those things magically become compelling because I do them on a tablet or a laptop.
posted by thelonius at 4:46 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

vimeo is not really playing for me right now, so I haven't watched this, but

For future reference: that's not really the sort of opener you're allowed to make when you're discussing a Bret Victor talk. It's one thing to talk about those lonely data points past the north end of the bell curve, but Victor is one of those people who makes you suspect you were measuring the wrong thing the whole time.
posted by mhoye at 7:17 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I will take that under advisement
posted by thelonius at 7:26 PM on December 22, 2014

This talk resonates less with me than previous Bret Victor talks. I don't know if that's just me, or if he's still thinking through this deep concept, or if he ran down a dead end.

Like, I agree with most everything he's saying. The initial rush into mobile electronics has (understandably) focused almost exclusively on touchscreens, which are the "dead fish" of tactile user interaction. There's so much untapped potential in other modes of interaction. We should take care not to focus too much on current tools, which only explore a limited subset of human ways of exploring thought. We should use more dynamic, interactive tools.

But I feel he covered the same material better in talks like Inventing on Principle and Media for Thinking the Unthinkable. Maybe I'm just missing the core concept in this talk, or maybe he's rephrasing a message I've already seen so it reaches new people.
posted by daveliepmann at 5:31 AM on December 23, 2014

Yep he almost started with an apology, for being in a period of reflection rather than production, so not having much to show. I enjoyed it though, broadening the conventional view of programming and looking at what it could turn into, pushing for humane interfaces.
posted by yaxu at 4:49 PM on December 23, 2014

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