Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Research lens: wide open

When I was introduced to the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture a few days ago (after receiving some great feedback on my IA Summit proposal) I wondered how the hell it had slipped by me until then. PhD neuroses tend to let one assume that everyone else knows what's going on before you do ;) Described at as the "IA supergroup to end all such," I'm looking forward to seeing this new space develop. Something that immediately caught my eye was the assertion that IA is "a new kind of architecture that designs structures of information rather than of bricks, wood, plastic and stone. People live and work in these structures, just as they live and work in their homes, offices, factories and malls. These places are not virtual: they are as real as our own minds." Always interested in the ways people distinguish between the actual and the virtual, something about this statement rings strange... Maybe it's the implication that virtuality isn't real (physical?) but what exists in our minds is real (metaphysical?). I'll have to think on that one some more ;)

Also - Gyre: Tracking the Next Military and Technological Revolutions - which will undoubtedly suck up enormous amounts of my time in the coming week ;) - and this article in particular, where technological innovators ponder the ethical implications of their work. "There's an argument that perhaps we could simply close our eyes to new technology," Dr. Merkle said. "Occasionally, people argue that if new technologies pose new risks we should tell people they should not develop them." But then, he said, society would be worse off. "Not only do we lose the benefits of the new technology, but we also, and more importantly, fail to understand what the new technology means." Hmm. Good point.


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