The Future Text Initiative
In an era of super-high resolution televisions with large numbers of high-quality shows available instantly and highly realistic and immersive computer games – both experiences made possible by high-powered digital devices – document discourse is still rooted in the analogue era of non-interactive vertical columns of black type on a white substrate.
At the most fundamental, a document, whether a book or an academic paper or a work of fiction, is a framed space of textual symbols connected through every sentence and every word to the wider space of text and meaning encoded in symbols in other documents. The tradition from our analogue roots is to focus on the frame, rather than the connective nature of the symbols. The question I ask here however, is: How can we powerfully augment the process of Authoring and Reading these symbols in an environment of powerfully networked devices to support an ever deeper literacy?
Future of Text Symposium
Key to the future is to engage in dialogue, which is why I host the annual Future of Text Symposium with Vint Cerf. There will be no symposium in 2018, in support of making the Symposium for the 50th anniversary of Doug Engelbart's Demo as good as it can be. The 50th Anniversary of his demo will be on the 9th of December and in support of celebrating the spirit of the demo we have set up the Doug@50 Project.
My personal effort is to build the best Reading & Writing environments I can, starting with my macOS and iOS word processor Author for which I am building powerful Dynamic Views to make Authoring and Reading more visually interactive, in collaboration with Jacob Hazelgrove.
I have also started the open development of more transparent Socratic Authorship document format to enable a wider ecosystem of developers' efforts to improve how we can interchange rich documents, with Christopher Gutteridge.