Mia likes the Bush reading and wonders about the camera of the future. It’s here, there’s a couple out there, narrative clip is one. Michael is also impressed, the memex that Bush describes has been influential in helping the original hypertext theorists think about what hypertext should do.
Samuel notes Bush’s prescience, which is impressive. This is, though it wasn’t around then, a form of design fiction, it is speculative writing, coming from 1945 science and imagining forward. It has been a powerful vision for many of the people who invented the stuff we now take for granted. Monika notes how in 1945 the problem was all the scientific knowledge available, and simply what to do with it all. Bush’s memex was the solution, as was the Web for the physicists at CERN in the early 90s. Zoe is also impressed by the ‘what if’ thinking proposed. Lina picks up how Bush is about manipulating and supporting intelligence and knowledge, and creating technologies to enable us to do more with what we know, which is one reason why the internet has seen such rapid adoption, change, and use. Ashleigh highlights the key thing about computers, cognitive supplementation, they have made a difference to knowledge, how we make it, store it, find it, use it, and increasingly what it is. It is not just more, but different (a qualitative change). Memphis also picks up Bush’s point about rethinking the relationship between people, knowledge, and technology. Bush is a post War American idealist – what can’t science do? – but the intent here, just after the use of the atomic bomb, is important to get. It’s a vision to advance the human, not subjugate it. Shavoni has the excellent yardstick of her grandfather to make plain how much change has happened. A really interesting thing is that people, individuals, are like sponges in relation to technology. We soak it up, institutions – companies, universities, and so on, are bricks, they in fact react in the opposite way. (Yet another reason why ‘design thinking’ is being talked about in business schools, with limited success usually because the people they get aren’t really designers.) Jackie seems to pick up the fact that science has ‘scale’ and that things happen faster, and then faster. Not just because communication is faster, but the tools and our knowledge shifts from just being more to being different, so that the ability to innovate seems to get faster too. I’m not sure if this is the case, though it feels like it though also, taking an ANT point of view, it is very important to recognise that this happens around a couple of small ‘attractors’. The web, perhaps the iPhone and app store. Two small things that have triggered seismic shifts in nearly everything they touch. David, meanwhile, zeroes in on the memex, the model that inspired Nelson and hypertext, which in turn influenced Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web. There really is a line from Bush, the memex, to your blog.