Program or be programmed

We are intimidated by the whole notion of programming, seeing it as a chore for mathematically inclined menials rather than a language through which we can recreate the world on our own terms.

When human beings acquired language, we learned not just how to listen but how to speak. When we gained literacy, we learned not just how to read but how to write. And as we move into an increasingly digital reality, we must learn not just how to use programs but how to make them.

Programmers will shape our future world, and then in turn the technologies themselves will shape us.

(Fletcher «first we shape our tools, then our tools shape us»)

Networked activity -> shared thinking, an extension of human consciousness

«A society that looked at the internet as a path toward highly articulated connections and new methods of creating meaning is instead finding itself disconnected, denied deep thinking, and drained of enduring values.»

The net and social media: a mash and mix of everything, indiscriminate, drowning, mob behaviour, thoughlessness, distraction over focus (it doesn’t have to be this way!)

We are in danger of losing meaning

We have to become conscious participants

Programmed into our network, some unconsciously, are biases and agendas

Media are biased towards sets of behaviours, but we mostly aren’t conscious of this

«Just as we think and behave differently in different settings, we think and behave differently when operating different technology.»

We know how to use programs to write, but not how to write programs; this means we have access to the capabilities given to us by others, but not «the power to determine the value-creating capabilities of these technologies» for ourself

Computers discourage us from using some of our complex higher cognitive abilities; because they can do it for us

We don’t know what we are asking machines to do or how they are going to go about doing it

Computer code is biased away from continuous time, from the local and toward dislocation, toward choice between yes/no-on/off-0/1, a reduction of complexity, 

«Our devices and, by extension, our nervous systems are now attached to the entire online universe, all the time.»

In the translation from the blurry and nondescript real world to the absolutely defined and numerical digital world, something is lost. How exact is enough?

In the digital world we are forced to make choiced that sometimes aren’t nuanced enough; married or single? Straight or gay? «The more we learn to conform to the available choices, the more predictable and machinelike we become ourselves.»

Our choices narrow our world

Our digital tools often oversimplify nuanced problems

On easily accessible information and answers: Actually searching in the real world ppromotes experiental learning, it recreates the process of discovery, putting the researcher through the motion of cognition rather than simply delivering the bounty

Abandoning academic disciplines because they take too long

We get impatient and equate oversimplified impressions with real knowledge and experience

Decreasing the perceptual ability of humans?

(The digital world is a SIMPLIFIED version of the real world; it offers new opportunities but also takes a lot out of the experience; related to INFOGRAPHICS; simplifying big information)

«While [simulation technologies like MP3s] are poor substitutes for the full spectrum of nature, they are great models for particular systems that we would have no way to isolate from their contexts in the real world.»

Digital simulations are numerical in nature; limited by design

«No matter how detailed or interactive the map gets, it cannot replace the territory.»

On the Web as IRL, everything is connected (kind of)

Walter Benjamin, art reproduction, «the same way Benjamin would have the printed art book inspire us to visit the original work in its real world context, our digital abstractions work best when they are used to give us insight into something quite real and particular

Abstract symbol systems and representations are nothing new: «We have stuff, we have signs for stuff, and we have symbols of signs.» We shouldn’t get so entranced by signs that we lose sight of the here and now.

The social bias of the medium rejects the business bias of any particular venue

Social, sharing, openness bias

Digital technology is biased against fiction and toward facts, against story and toward reality

Information exchange; society getting stronger through the natural selection of memes (ideas that spread)

Brands using fiction to sell us stuff, camouflaging the reality of where it’s coming from. Digital technology broke this; «read-write» replacing «read-only» books, radio, tv

Myths and narratives will always be deconstructed, and mistruths eventually corrected

«The bias of our interactions in digital media shifts back toward the nonfiction on which we all depend to make sense of our world, get the most done, and have the most fun. The more valuable, truthful, and real our messages, the more they will spread and better we will do. We must learn to tell the truth.»

«While our digital mediaspace is biased toward a shared cost structure, our currency system is not. We are attempting to operate a twenty-first-century digital economy on a thirteenth-century, printing-press-based operating system.»

In 1970, there was no difference between programming a computer and operating one. Computers are «anything machines»!

«As the mystery of computers became the science of programming, many other mysteries seemed to vanish as well. For the person who understands code, the whole world reveals itself as a series of descisions made by planners and designers for how the rest of us should live. […] Once the biases become apparent, anything becomes possible. The world and its many arbitrary systems can be hacked.»

Communicating and sharing is bad for business, so interfaces were made more compex to discourage this. The real workings of the machine was buried. The easy command-line interface was replaced with clicking, dragging, pointing and watching.

The Wizard is doing the installing on Windows, and we are told not to look behind the curtain.

Digital technology gives us the ability to create virtual life!

«We are intimidated by the whole notion of programming, seeing it as a chore for mathematically inclined menials rather than a language through which we can recreate the world on our own terms.»