Mary Rose Cook's notebook

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The Humane Representation of Thought

The Humane Representation of Thought on Vimeo

“The wrong way to understand a system is to talk about it. The write way is to model and explore it.”

“People are using these very old tools, explaining and convincing through reasoning and rhetoric, instead of the newer tools, evidence and explorable models.”

I first saw this before I learned about Dynamicland. Now that I know about Dynamicland, obviously I can see where Victor was going with this talk. But when I first saw it, I found the actual depictions of what it would be like to work in this vision very hard to grasp. I saw the image of the man manipulating a wing that was hovering in mid air. I suppose I imagined a sort of hologram that he had somehow sketched and imbued with behavior by waving his hands. But of course, this was not only not what Victor was driving at, by thinking of something ethereal and projected, I was actually driving in the opposite direction from the one he intended.

Seeing it again now, I still don't have a very clear picture is my mind of what the realization of this vision would look like. Dynamicland, though it's a big step closer, is still a long way away.

But I maybe understand better how to think about this sort of vision. Ignore the irreality of it. Just take it at face value. Think about what traits the thing must have in order to enable the experience you want. Depict those traits. Though it is very hard to believe they could be created, it's perfectly possible to imagine using them. Focus on what traits they should have and what it would be like to use them, not the details of how to make them come true.

The traits: You somehow create a model in a few seconds. You somehow show the provenance of the model's assumptions. You somehow make a space that can spatially and tactilely embody a book.