Frode Hegland 2018
Axes made it possible to build shelters and construct primitive settlements, and they physically changed the world once and for all.
James Burke & Robert Ornstein The Axemakers Gift 1997
Every new capability has changed who we are. Our new-found capability to interact with digital text has to some degree turned us into tribes of ideas, fighting in social media text spaces at the speed of light as well as the biggest producers or academic and scientific knowledge the world has ever seen, with volumes of work drowning out the possibility of thoughtfully going through it all.
The potential benefit of learning to understand the potential power and working to harness it however, we can become better connected, deeper and more involved with our own thoughts and with each others perspectives.
Doug Engelbart likened interactive computers and symbol manipulation to a ‘new fire†. We now have the choice of letting it continue burn uncontrolled and chaotically or to learn to control this digital fire and reach a new age of enlightenment. Big words, but then, words are big.
The promise of richly interactive text is powered by the ‘magic’ that computers can provide which manifests in the interactivity digital text provides to provide new and powerful ways to link text representing ideas, thoughts, perspectives and anything else text can communicate.
Interactive text can also be portrayed flexibly, giving the user more useful views of what they are reading, the wider space of what they are reading and what they are writing.
Furthermore interactive text can be interacted with programmatically (through entirely new ways to ‘code’, not only by writing lines of text in ‘programs’) giving rise to opportunities for analysis and insight we cannot even guess at before we start experimenting with what's possible. This will enable not just translations between languages but also between professions and perhaps, if we are lucky between family members. This last one might read as a joke but it is meant to highlight that even those who know each other intimately and deeply share context can be hard to communicate with when invisible differences in perspective and intent creep in.
Beyond this is what lies beyond our current understanding based on only having lived through the first 50 years of this medium. Let's expand our imaginations together. Join us!