We need better access to what's in our own heads, not just to what's on a database somewhere.
We are walking down a corridor, a corridor of perception, taking in what's in front us, like soldiers on a battle field, gathering intelligence of what's in front of us, relaying it back to the people behind and up the ranks, later acting on the orders generated over time from that input.
We need not just to make information environments more transparent, but also more reflective; allowing a better view, and therefore better control of our own thoughts.
We need a mirror to what's in our heads. We need a plug to what's inside, hooked up to a monitor where we can manipulate it all.
It's not by chance we talk of 'seeing' relationships. Our visual system cannot exist without an external world. To imagine it in isolation is inherently absurd. It's kind of a funny situation, the external world communicating to us via what's only inside us. We have an extremely well developed apparatus, which we almost constantly use to maintain a high degree in proficiency in. Our visual system. It's quite a bit easier to juggle things you can see than things you may only picture in your mind. Especially as you get more things to juggle.
Alan Kay has long talked about a 'paper' like interface which is both extremely simple, as simple as paper, and which provides the magic which only computers can provide. Is this such a big deal? If we can't just start afresh, and also solve the problems of initial use simplicity and professional level control, can't we at least create an applications where simple words and pictures can be manipulated elegantly and the more advanced features are just a click further away.
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