machinespace = the networked information space of ever-increasing complexity that humans have to interact with.

August 11, 2004

thriving in machinespace...

oh, it's not as impossible as it seems. machinespace is an artifact, after all, although it is vaster and darker than any continent ever explored.

ostensibly, it was intended to make life easier for us all. and it does. imagine a life without computing or communications devices. simple, yes. fruitful? doubtful.

of course, if you deem a fruitful life to be one that lives in harmony with one's environment, giving back to nature what we take from it.... an idealistic view, but not very comfortable.

imbalance is what creates tension in the system, and its tension that provides energy - energy to innovate and create.

After all, how many scenes of plants and flowers do you see in the artwork of primitive man? nature was all around him, of course.... but do you see herbiage and representations of plants? nope.. it's animals you see - animals that he hunted, some bigger and much more dangerous. idyllic pastoral settings do not make for innovation. stability and safety perhaps, but not innovation.

So.. that brings us back to "thriving in machinespace" - we created it, we can control it.. we can navigate it, and we can use it to grow...

are we smarter now than we were a generation or two ago? in terms of exposure to knowledge and information, definitely yes. In terms of learning to apply that knowledge and information in a constructive manner, definitely no.

at this point, we still are at a state of imbalance - there are differences in the extent of our immersion into machinespace - it is ubiquitous yes, but still not at the point where we cannot control its penetration into our lives. that will come in about 20 years. we can still step out of the wilderness of machinespace and onto the familiar non-connected spaces.

in the meanwhile, those of us who live more or less immersed in machinespace in our professinal and private lives can map the new terrain, laying out markers, drawing up maps, building roads and shelters.

yes, this is how a UI designer/information architect should view themselves - guides for those who will eventually populate and settle in the wilderness, and build great things....

onward, UI pioneers.

________________________________________________________ copyright 2004 ajoy muralidhar. all names or brands referenced are the copyright of their respective owners.


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