Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

changing the interface

I like to think about the ways the way we interface with methods of communication affects the communication. Others have written and thought about this more deeply than I will, but I'll play with the ideas a bit tonight.

The paradigm of publishing stands out as a starting point. It's so easy to think of publishing material as a book-ish or magazine-ish endeavor. The notion of weblogs alters that calculus. I'm still amused by people who can reach 1,000 friends easily by weblog, but worry when they get a rejection slip from a poetry journal with not many more subscribers.

I ignore for now the "legitmate media v. illegitimate media" validation difference. I'm not saying that all experiences of exposing one's thoughts to others are of equal value. I puzzle instead over the tape recordings embedded like species memory into (at least my) hard-drive. To publish without perishing is to perish in print publication-ally. Peer review provides proper perquisites, perhaps. Yet in some ways it all strikes me as outmoded technology. Ideas remain embedded from a time when publishing was ruinously expensive, and even from a time when the percentage of the population educated to any great extent was tremendously small. I think sometimes that I tend to think in a pen-and-ink way in a picasa world.

We are a generation from being able to think something and see it appear on screen. The earliest successful experiments have already published on this. The technology will be convenient (and maddening) of course--but what interests me is how much of the experience we have now stems from the interface? How much that we consider basic and human in the way we talk about and look at things is just that we don't have the tools now (but will) to express ourselves in other ways. In essence, existence, in existence, essence, all the canards. A more commercial latter-day Edwardian movement phrase it all "change your thinking, change your life". But change your interface, and you change everything.

In the beginning was perception. Perception was of the Word, Perception was with the Word, Perception became the Word. Perception became flesh, and dwelt within people. When the perception changes, do different forms of grace arise?

People are people are people. But when people can bridge synapses a bit differently, what will it mean? To live is to be hampered by two hands on one piano. But if we can have dozens of hands on rows of pianos, will the change in experience change everything? When we have the ability to truly express thoughts instantly and clearly, will our thoughts change?

So much promise in the machines. But I'm puzzled by the odd reactionary things around us all. So much tragedy everywhere.

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