Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I thought Nelson's "Proposal for a universal electronic publishing system and archive" was really interesting, so I have a ton of questions about Xanadu:

1. Is Xanadu possible or useful? Is it likely to ever be widely used, or used within particular groups of people? What are the benefits of Xanadu? Do you see elements of Nelson's vision in new media today? (check out Inspiration and theBrain) What values does Xanadu represent? (ex. what functions would this operating system (is that what it is?) support, and what functions would it not be useful for?) How does Xanadu illustrate how political, cultural, and technological aspects of society are closely tied? Is Xanadu just a large database? What would make it different than "just" a database?

2. How has the development of new media influenced our concept of the human mind?
-- humans similar to computers as primarily calculating machines, ideally weighing options and choosing the most logical;
-- humans similar to computers as large databases of info.;
-- humans as creative beings distinct from computers (either dominating new media or fearing our dependence on new technology)

3. Is there still a percieved need for a computerized personal knowledge device similar to Vannevar Bush's memex? What efforts are underway and what shape do they take? How are they different from or similar to the memex?

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