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To us in the room,
you’re ‘here.’ online room To people online, you’re ‘here.’So where are you right now? just think about that a second.>>To those of us in the room we look over and see you’re here. With us in the room.>>But on Twitter, or instant messenger, or facebook -- wherever else you’re communicating atthe moment -- you’re “there”This isn’t just an idle thought. These words matter because they indicate the way wecognitively comprehend reality.
Where is “here” in this
tweet?Check out this tweet ... “I’m here. Is anybody here?”How do you interpret this question?Where is “here” here? She could have arrived at a restaurant and is asking if her friends arethere yet. Or she could be asking if anyone she knows is looking at Twitter at the moment.Notice I referred to even the statement as “here” -- as if it’s a place. “Let’s look at what thisperson is saying ‘here’”
Reality hacking. Context “Fountain” |
Marcel Duchamp ~ 1917Recognize this?>> This was named by art experts as the most inﬂuential work of art of the 20th century.Not because of its beauty, but because it signaled & partly catalyzed a rift in how we thinkabout culture. Duchamp and friends grabbed a urinal and signed it with a fake artist’s name,and entered it in an art show. It didn’t get in -- but then they publicized the “injustice” ofbeing rejected so widely it became famous, and started conversations about what the natureof art really is. Who decides it?>> And it was all done by adding a bit of language to an object. By changing its context.>> It’s a sort of reality hacking. Why?
flickr - uicdigitalInformation changes how
we experience the physical.Because information changes how we experience the physical world.Look at this photo -- there’s information everywhere in this scene.>>The lines on the road tell us where to drive; the traffic light is a virtual barrier that affectsour behavior; the road signs give us a layer of instruction that adds meaning to the cityaround us. without the information here, it would quite literally be a different place.
flickr - aokkone More pervasive;
more immersive.Now look at today.When you’re using a GPS, where are you driving?Your brain merges the information from the device with what you’re seeing in the windshield.They become essentially the same.So now we’re in even richer information environments.
Information makes places, kind of
like this picture makes a pipe. If you could smoke the pipe.This is the famous Magritte painting -- it says “this is not a pipe”The picture deﬁnitely shows a pipe but it’s not a real pipe you can smoke.>>Information is kind of like this in the way it makes places.>>Except for a key difference that, withInformation, you can smoke the pipe.
US Constitution Some immersive information
frameworks aren’t physical at all. archives.govWhat about this?How is this all that different from a D&D ruleset?Some people got together and wrote an information artifact, just words on pages, but it’s theframework the United States has existed within for over 2 centuries.Information is real, and it creates contexts that can have powerful effects on the reality welive in.
“Beacon” “Buzz”Which is why people
get so upset when some of the places they live in suddenly change theirrules. Without representation, without explanation.What did these two platforms get so wrong?They assumed that, just because the environments they created were digital -- informational-- the rules of physical social context didn’t apply. They oversimpliﬁed or ignored some verycomplex things about how people really live.They treated these designs as software engineering solutions, rather than life solutions.
“Friend?”For example, they warped what
the word ‘friend’ means.Sure, it’s just language.But used as an entity in a relational database, behind a massive platform where millions ofpeople conduct big, meaningful slices of their lives ... it becomes more than just a word.It becomes architecture.
vs flickrcom - shimonkey flickr.com
- anirudhkoul Obvious difference.For example, in physical space, there’s an obvious difference between a little nook in the corner of a room where you canwhisper to someone, and a stage in front of thousands of people where a microphone will announce what you say to all of them.Whisper image CC http://ﬂickr.com/photos/shimonkey/447924817/Crowd image CC http://ﬂickr.com/photos/anirudhkoul/2046282436/http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en
D vs @ flickrcom -
shimonkey flickr.com - anirudhkoul Not so obvious.But on Twitter, all it takes is D vs @ to make that difference. It changes from requiring a big, physicalchange to a tiny alphanumeric slip.The information environments we’re creating are littered with these dangerously thin barriers betweencontexts.Whisper image CC http://ﬂickr.com/photos/shimonkey/447924817/Crowd image CC http://ﬂickr.com/photos/anirudhkoul/2046282436/http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en
We’ve always lived in language.
abcdefghijklmn opqrstuvwxyz abcdefghijklmn opqrstuvwxyz Map = Territory Now we live in software. photo: http://cjsd.blogspot.com/2008/03/day-d20-died.htmlWe’ve always lived in language -- since the earliest beginnings of civilization, it’s been partof what makes us people.>> But now we also live in software, which is language made into architecture. Places weinhabit.>> The map has become the territory.So, in a weird way, the D&D geeks won ... we all live in their dungeons now.
Existing Context online room The
Context we design.We aren’t just designing for existing contexts anymore.We are designing the context itself.And the more that information dimension pervades our physical space ...
What we make for the
“screen” changes the world “outside the screen.” Existing Context room online The Context we design.The more we’re actually designing all human context.>>What we make for the screen changes the world outside the screen.
We don’t fully understand what
we have wrought.I don’t think we really understand what we have made. We keep going as if everything we dowith this technology just has to be great, but we end up making mistakes and wondering howwe screwed up.
Be aware of, and understand,
the problem.The ﬁrst step is just to be aware of the problem. I think this is an area of design that wehaven’t fully come to grips with yet. So let’s keep working on that.
Task Task Need Cognitive Physical
Situation Task Task Need Need Emotional Task Task Task Task “Scenario”It all comes back to understanding the whole person, and the whole contextual situation inwhich they live and where their needs come from.>>We have to be careful that we’re not so focused on the individual task we’re designingfor ...>> That we ignore the incredible ripple effect it has, and how it alters the reality that personis living in.