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[ontolog-forum] Microsoft on "Being Human"

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Christopher Spottiswoode" <cms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2008 15:47:35 +0200
Message-id: <04d001c898b6$f9701080$0100a8c0@Dev>
Just in case you missed it, may I recommend a quick skim of this 
as useful background for MACK?  It's Microsoft's report "Being 
Human: Human Computer Interaction in the Year 2020", which you can 
download from here:    (01)

http://research.microsoft.com/hci2020/download.html.    (02)

"Being human" and HCI in the most general sense is very much the 
scene of "pillar 3" of MACK as I introduced it here:    (03)

http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/2008-02/msg00277.html#nid012.    (04)

The observation demanding such a pillar was that "the balance 
between the formal and the informal is absolutely key."    (05)

That "informal" was meant in the most inclusive sense of at least 
'colloquial or intuitive or pertaining to aesthetic or moral or 
even comic sensibilities and judgement'.  But that does comprise 
the more specialized or ontologically-relevant senses of 
'inexpressible or ineffable or transcendent' as well as the less 
existential senses of 'misconceived or misconceptualized or 
conceptually malformed'.  Risking flames one might even add 
"demanding deconstruction"!  More practically again, let's add 
'unconventional or uninstitutionalized or ad hoc'.    (06)

Maintaining and developing the value-related aspects of all such 
"informal" matters will be a constant challenge as we move towards 
the integration of digital with analogue, and increasingly of dry 
with wet.    (07)

The "4th instalment" of my "MACK basics" series of posts to this 
forum, due out in the next few days, starts getting down - at 
last! - to the practical detail on how MACK broaches those "pillar 
3" matters, and in such a way that its reductionism is not unduly 
impoverishing but is instead uplifting.    (08)

That whole area is, I believe, where you will find the most 
important contrast between our present IS-infrastructural 
environment and that promised by MACK.    (09)

That will be thanks to how MACK:
*  will help us dispense with the technical complication of many 
present systems and methods,
*  by its core technology and facilities will reinforce our 
defences against misconceiving, malFormation, and other forms of 
oversimplification, whether obvious or insidious, and
*  thereby and in more positive ways will promote constructive 
attention to what really counts for people.    (010)

You will also see how it is likewise in the essence of MACK for 
all the above to apply, self-critically, to itself as well, and to 
our application of it.    (011)

As the Microsoft report put it near its end (p76):    (012)

"Finally, understanding the new relationships between people and 
computers will involve asking questions about process, potential 
and change rather than attributes, capabilities and being."    (013)

So some in Microsoft might be able to relate easily enough to a 
"Ride The Mainstream!" call to action as the message of a 
Democratic Web medium, at least at the philosophical level even 
though there might be no small measure of resistance in such 
quarters to the technology in question.    (014)

Christopher     (015)

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