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Cultural v. Technical Solutions [was Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Just the facts.]

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.    (01)

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.    (02)

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)    (03)

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 
[1] 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.    (04)

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.    (05)

Jack    (06)

[1]http://www.crcs.niit.com/projects/children.htm    (07)

XML Topic Maps: Creating and Using Topic Maps for the Web.
Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-74960-2.    (08)

http://www.nexist.org/wiki/User0Blog    (09)