Wednesday, February 04, 2004

1. What was Ted Nelson on back in the '70s? Okay, not a well put question... but I know he wasn't thrilled (to put it lightly) when Tim Berners-Lee's "WWW" took off instead of his XANADU project. Why did Nelson think all the extras he had in his system were needed in a hypertext system? It's not that I'm a blindly raving fan of Berners-Lee's work, but the simplicity of the WWW is one of the things that allowed it to propagate around the world as quickly as it did.

2. All this talk about man-machine combinations and cybernetics is interesting, but it lacks a certain "big picture" viewpoint. Most of the readings for this week talk about creating intelligent systems "of machines" that serve particular functions. Now, to a varying degree, "men" (literature from the '50s seems so strangely sexist in today's world) were involved in the systems, but in those systems they interact with machines and machines alone. What we're seeing today isn't people (a much better term) are using machines not to interact with other machines but to interact with other people. The machines facilitate communication between individuals or groups. So the question -- should the goal of the folks doing research in human computer interaction still be working to make the human/machine system or should it be trying to figure out how the human / human interactions facilitated by machines are changing the world?

3. There are a number of predictions throughout the articles for today that have come true, but in ways the authors never would have expected. What does that mean for today's tech predictions?

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