Re: Cultural v. Technical Solutions [was Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Just the facts.]
Shall I infer that your point would be:
Doug Engelbart's vision of coupling masses of illogical humans to gobs of
technology doesn't have a prayer of achieving anything sufficiently useful
to be able to judge the effort worthwhile? (being somewhat akin to
Gerald's earlier comments). (02)
And, whilst we are at it: what is the purpose of all of this mental
masturbation? It seems to me that there are a sufficient number of use
cases for the application of technology to cultural situations where the
outcomes can be predicted to be at once useful, productive, and worthwhile,
such that, whilst the argument, in the large (wild) might seem insane,
taken in narrower contexts might seem totally appropriate. (03)
One context, an arguable one at that, where I think that technology will
prove to be of benefit is that of constructivist learning
environments. For instance, there are not enough real libraries in which
to turn kids loose rambling around looking for ideas to satisfy projects;
rather, google and the Web can serve that purpose. (04)
It does seem to me that Tom Munnecke's term "malgnosis" is being applied
far too often to analysis of issues. Rather, his "benegnosis", or as it is
becoming known: appreciative inquiry, should be applied. (05)
Instead of attacking what you believe to be the faults in a thesis, try
looking for the benefits. From there, the faults will reveal themselves,
but they will do so illuminated in such a way that solutions might more
easily appear. (06)
At 10:03 PM 10/7/2002 +0100, you wrote:
>Actually I think the 'problem' revolves around the fact that people are people
>and not machines. And as yet, most products that the computer hammer has
>produced also have a tendency to hammer people into rectilinear molds too.
>My point earlier is that most people aren't very logical, and almost all
>aren't logical all the time. More importantly people's lives don't run like
>That's not to say that computers haven't produced some cool things - like
>and Adobe Photoshop.
>But, imho, what those tools do very effectively on the whole is to totally
>treating the human zone of the activity as anything other than that - as
>something wobbly and spontaneous, flexible, furious, curious, colourful, and
>It occurs to me that Doug's work rests on that interaction between the rigidly
>functional box and the messy human.
>The tendency at the moment is to hammer the person to act more like the box.
>Business people like to think that that's the right way to think about it.
>I personally wonder whether the gains are to be had in hammering the box
>shape, at least insofar as it could help one with compensating for one's
>messiness instead of just helping to [expletive] one's life up more.
>I recently had someone type my National Insurance No. (Social Security #)
>form incorrectly. The damn system propagated it to about 50 other govt.
>databases. Three months on and I'm still waiting for them to sort the mess
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Jack Park" <email@example.com>
>Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 6:28 PM
>Subject: Cultural v. Technical Solutions [was Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Just the
> > At 03:49 PM 10/6/2002 -0700, Gerald Pierce wrote:
> > >Just notice, Jack, that you are speaking about technical solutions to a
> > >cultural problem. Good ones, perhaps the best, but I fear that they will
> > >make very little difference. I wish I had an answer. All that I can say
> > >from my obervations is we seem to be looking for the solution in the
> > >problem box.
> > First, I confess I have trained fingers, quite used to talking about C.S.
> > Peirce, so I have a problem (cultural, I suppose) with Pierce.
> > Anyway, let me say that the "technical solutions to cultural problems"
> > argument comes up often. I'd be greatly pleased to see more discourse on
> > that theme. Unrev II, this list included, was (is) about cultural problems
> > and technical solutions, so it's no wonder that, on occasion, someone
> > notices that some discussions (this one, for instance) speaks about
> > technical solutions to cultural problems. I have this hammer (my computer)
> > and I see lots of nails out there. I suppose the devil makes me do that ;o)
> > I suppose the discourse that provoked the statement above was about
> > OpenOffice, WYSIWYG editors, and so forth. It's clear to me that OpenOffice
> > is a completely inappropriate solution to problems associated with remote
> > communities in developing nations. Indeed, the Hole In The Wall experiment
> >  makes it clear that nothing more sophisticated than a simple touch pad
> > with culturally relevant symbols is appropriate. However, recalling the
> > earlier context of this thread, I think that Douglas Engelbart centered the
> > theme, and his lack of success in securing a future for his vision was the
> > topic; remote villages were not at stake.
> > In the context of securing a future for the Engelbart vision, I think that
> > the discussion has always been about his desire to mix technology with
> > people. So, in that context, I'd like to understand more about why you
> > (Gerald) think little difference will be made by applying technical
> > solutions to cultural problems.
> > Thanks
> > Jack (08)
XML Topic Maps: Creating and Using Topic Maps for the Web.
Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-74960-2. (09)