Fixing the Computer World

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Nelson believes today's computer world is based on tekkie misunderstanding of human life and human thought.

These have led to unfortunate traditions and structures: hierarchical directories, the PARC user world (the so-called "modern GUI"), the division of the software world into high-walled applications, WYSIWYG documents (simulating paper under glass that you can't mark or cut up), the redefinition of "cut and paste" from their important meaning of previous centuries, the one-way non-overlappable links of the World Wide Web, the locking of Web pages to Internet locations, XML with its imposed hierarchy and non-overlappable attributes of locked-in descriptors, and now the Semantic Web-- a plan for tekkie committees to standardize the universe of human ideas.

All these, Nelson says, are based on warped notions of how ideas, and people, work, and come from traditions and mind-set of the tekkie community. But it is not too late to provide alternatives, because the problems of the present approaches corrupt our work and lives at every level, and huge improvements are possible.

(Source: Author's abstract, Incubation3 conference site, trAce Archive)

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Scott Rettberg