Has anyone tried to square “computing is a metamedium” (able to simulate all other mediums) with “medium is the message” school? I can think of a number of places where existing mediums can’t be emulated by a computer. But curious where people might say that’s an inherent limit vs a stage of expression computers have not yet reached (I think probably a mix of both). Is thinking there’s a limit “bad” if you are interested in the Future of Coding or does it help in some way with maximizing on strengths?
03/28/2023, 10:38 PM
I got stuck on the "'medium is the message' school" aspect in your post - please elaborate!
03/29/2023, 10:29 AM
Sure. It’s an idea from Marshall McLuhan, started early-mid 1900s, that a communication medium has a stronger affect than the message it carries. As an example, news heard on Twitter vs TV vs a podcast would have different effects regardless of its events.
So today there’s email mimicking the medium of letters, but they have very different feelings to them. And I’m wondering if that’s something which:
• can be fixed with some future tech
• a digital “letter feeling” comes from something that looks completely different
• or it’s not possible / will always make something new
• Or some other option I haven’t thought of
03/29/2023, 3:41 PM
My view of what programming is is "casting spells to affect reality", so computers are basically reality manifestors. Having to go through screens, apart from IoT i/o, is a current constraint that gets slacker over time. AR and VR is a way to easily do that for visual realities, but it's not quite ready yet. 3D printing is somewhere along the axis, but you need items that are able to continue to shape shift!
The letter is actually an example that is redundant, pure medium. Compare a letter with the letter knife, which has many physical uses, including self defence! (I suppose you /could/ paper cut someone to death...) As long as you have a screen and scrollable text, you never need return to that mediums physical properties, like foldable, turnable.
03/30/2023, 4:28 PM
“Casting spells” is a really nice way of describing it. I’d disagree on scrollable text though. There’s ink, handwriting (meticulous or rushed?), paper quality, scent, paper type (legal paper vs a postcard), presence (save it as a memento or use as a reminder in your periphery), along with other assumptions because, “it’s 2023 and someone just sent a letter?” My opinion’s probably somewhere between two and three. Maybe letters are video calls now and emails are something else?
03/30/2023, 4:36 PM
OK, but the original intention was simply to "say stuff" over a distance: all the other aspects are subsequent side effects of this medium, which of course have indeed become valuable in and of themselves. So if you want to cast a letter spell (no paper smell, sorry!) then that's fine too.
03/30/2023, 4:50 PM
Yeah, I realized halfway through a lot of its value today comes from having been replaced. I still think there’s something off with email (as a stand-in for pdigital emulation type things). Actually maybe because programming can “cast spells” / is a “ dynamic medium”, static forms of communication (with or through computers) become less interesting.