what even is a computer and what will we do with it?I've actually been struggling with this question a whole lot outside this community. Perhaps I should bring y'all in: • https://lobste.rs/s/i1b6tw/computer_science_was_always_supposed_be#c_2mffpq • https://forum.merveilles.town/thread/35/what-are-computers-for%2c-anyway%3f-38 • https://merveilles.town/@akkartik/107896035093628757 • https://merveilles.town/@akkartik/108043961340591227 (and thread) The conclusion I've currently arrived at is: • The kind of computers we have today prioritizes large organizations that pay people with money. The influence of this mindset is deep and infects almost all our tools. This "computer industrial complex" is often useful on short timescales, but it is also blind to a lot of the value people create with it. As a result, future decisions by the computer industrial complex often destroy value at people scales. • Right from the start (suspense alert), there's been a shadow computer with a different, more convivial purpose. Confusingly, this shadow computer often looks just like other computers. You have to look closely to look past the camouflage. • It's hard to see what people would do with these shadow computers if we weren't immersed in a world created by organizations. After some time thinking about it, I can't find a better answer than the one (drumroll) Vannevar Bush arrived at, right at the start: one thing convivial computers are definitely for is to externalize our brains. Paper expands memory. Computers expand both memory and modeling. This is a surprising, even shocking, conclusion for me to arrive at. I've always slightly looked down my nose at all the "tools for thought" conversations in this Slack. It's felt too close to productivity porn most suitable to avoid doing anything productive. Suddenly they're super relevant. But it's not enough to build more tools for thought. We have to think also about the process by which they're built. We have to ensure that the people-factory generating the convivial iPhone is also convivial. Because if it isn't, the conviviality will be short-lived as organizations kill or coopt it for their needs. The most important property to preserve, IMO, is to keep the raw code as naked and free from packaging as possible. It should be literally begging to be opened, inspected, tinkered with. Most software today fails to fit this bill. C programs come without source code by default. Browsers require big honking machines to be built from source. We write lovely naked Ruby code but then package it up into gems that go hide in some system directory where nobody can go look inside them. This is what my future of software looks like.