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The Humane Representation of Thought on Vimeo
"Closing keynote at the UIST and SPLASH conferences, October 2014.

References to baby-steps towards some of the concepts mentioned:

Dynamic reality (physical responsiveness):
- The primary work here is Hiroshi Ishii's "Radical Atoms":
- but also relevant are the "Soft Robotics" projects at Harvard:
- and at Otherlab:
- and some of the more avant-garde corners of material science and 3D printing

Dynamic conversations and presentations:
- Ken Perlin's "Chalktalk" changes daily; here's a recent demo:

Context-sensitive reading material:

"Explore-the-model" reading material:

Evidence-backed models:

Direct-manipulation dynamic authoring:

Modes of understanding:
- Jerome Bruner:
- Howard Gardner:
- Kieran Egan:

Embodied thinking:
- Edwin Hutchins:
- Andy Clark:
- George Lakoff:
- JJ Gibson:
- among others:

I don't know what this is all about:



New representations of thought — written language, mathematical notation, information graphics, etc — have been responsible for some of the most significant leaps in the progress of civilization, by expanding humanity’s collectively-thinkable territory.

But at debilitating cost. These representations, having been invented for static media such as paper, tap into a small subset of human capabilities and neglect the rest. Knowledge work means sitting at a desk, interpreting and manipulating symbols. The human body is reduced to an eye staring at tiny rectangles and fingers on a pen or keyboard.

Like any severely unbalanced way of living, this is crippling to mind and body. But it is also enormously wasteful of the vast human potential. Human beings naturally have many powerful modes of thinking and understanding.

Most are incompatible with static media. In a culture that has contorted itself around the limitations of marks on paper, these modes are undeveloped, unrecognized, or scorned.

We are now seeing the start of a dynamic medium. To a large extent, people today are using this medium merely to emulate and extend static representations from the era of paper, and to further constrain the ways in which the human body can interact with external representations of thought.

But the dynamic medium offers the opportunity to deliberately invent a humane and empowering form of knowledge work. We can design dynamic representations which draw on the entire range of human capabilities — all senses, all forms of movement, all forms of understanding — instead of straining a few and atrophying the rest.

This talk suggests how each of the human activities in which thought is externalized (conversing, presenting, reading, writing, etc) can be redesigned around such representations.


Art by David Hellman.
Bret Victor -- "

[Some notes from Boris Anthony:

"Those of you who know my "book hack", Bret talks about exactly what motivates my explorations starting at 20:45 in "

"From a different angle, btwn 20:00-29:00 Bret explains how "IoT" is totally changing everything
@timoreilly @moia" ]
bretvictor  towatch  interactiondesign  davidhellman  hiroshiishii  softrobotics  robots  robotics  kenperlin  jeromebruner  howardgardner  kieranegan  edwinhutchins  andyclark  jjgibson  embodiedcognition  cognition  writing  math  mathematics  infographic  visualization  communication  graphics  graphicdesign  design  representation  humans  understanding  howwelearn  howwethink  media  digital  dynamism  movement  conversation  presentation  reading  howweread  howwewrite  chalktalk  otherlab  3dprinting  3d  materials  physical  tangibility  depth  learning  canon  ui  informationdesign  infographics  maps  mapping  data  thinking  thoughts  numbers  algebra  arithmetic  notation  williamplayfair  cartography  gestures  placevalue  periodictable  michaelfaraday  jamesclerkmaxell  ideas  print  printing  leibniz  humanism  humanerepresentation  icons  visual  aural  kinesthetic  spatial  tactile  symbols  iot  internetofthings  programming  computers  screens  computation  computing  coding  modeling  exploration  via:robertogreco  reasoning  rhetoric  gerrysussman  environments  scale  virtualization 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Moving Day | ListServe Meta
"Since the email from the nice people at The Listserve caught
me on the morning of moving day, I’m filling this email with
fragments from journals I found during the move, flipping
through them at random and typing out what I find interesting
until I hit the word limit:

…I am most impressed by those who can find the signal in the
noise. People like David Foster Wallace, W.H. Auden, Amy
Hempel, Rob Greco, my sister, Matthew Weiner, Sherlock
Holmes, Deron Bauman, Al Swearengen, Frank Chimero, Ira
Glass, Noah Dennis, Patrick Rothfuss, Ze Frank…

Book idea: How to Look at People…

Matt Thomas: “To live in Iowa — and to stay sane
– requires the cultivation of a vast inner geography.”
– yes, exactly, that’s how I survived, isn’t it?…

“I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way
they have to live than other things do.” – Willa Cather,
O Pioneers!…

careworn = best adjective"
thoughts  commonplacebooks  noticing  observation  adjectives  trees  notetaking  notebooks  friends  2012  thelistserve  willacather  mattthomas  patternrecognition  patterns  cv  careworn  ego  lukeneff 
june 2012 by robertogreco
metacool: 4: Prototype as if you are right. Listen as if you are wrong.
"To make change in the world, we must constantly engage in a yin-yang cycle of prototyping. ... What is a prototype? A prototype is nothing other than a single question, embodied. In a way quite similar to the scientific method, productive prototyping is about asking a single question at a time, and then constructing a model in the world which brings back evidence to answer your question. In order to believe in the evidence that comes back to you, you need to prototype as if you already know the answer. A strong belief in your point of view will push you to find more creative solutions to the question at hand.
prototyping  design  learning  thoughts  management  glvo  tcsnmy  change  gamechanging  listening  development 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Chris Heathcote: anti-mega: everything i.e. anything
"Also, I wonder about the generally euphoric reception of Clay’s talk at Web 2.0, stating that, paraphrasing, if we just stopped watching a little TV, we could spend that time doing something more useful. We could build thousands of Wikipedias."
clayshirky  consumption  production  television  thoughts  wikipedia  tv  leisure  human  behavior  creativity  work  internet  media 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Thinking with a Word Processor - J. C. Nyíri (Budapest)
"For the user of a word processor, language has "become dynamic rather than static, malleable rather than fixed, soft rather than hard, plastic rather than rigid. As a consequence language never seems to reach a finished stage"
censorship  cognition  research  science  technology  thinking  wordprocessing  interface  thought  computers  future  writing  blogging  history  thoughts  philosophy 
september 2007 by robertogreco - Art - Arboretum - DB "Why?"
"They began a few years ago as instructions to myself in a little notebook—“draw an evolutionary tree on pleasure,” or “draw a Venn diagram about relationships,” for example. Commands to myself to make mental maps of imaginary territory. These a
art  diagrams  information  infographics  mapping  thoughts  visualization  images 
september 2006 by robertogreco
The Loom : Lightning, the Mind, and a World Before Scientists
"Before 1833 there were no scientists. It was in that year that William Whewell, a British philosopher, geologist, and all-around bright bulb, coined the word scientist. His mentor, the poet Samuel Coleridge, thought the English language needed a term for
history  science  language  philosophy  time  thoughts 
september 2006 by robertogreco

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