Our digital breadcrumbs now tell stories about us that are deeply secret, moving, surprising—and often things we don’t even know about ourselves. These days when a computer crunches the numbers and tells you “this is who you are,” it’s hard to contradict because there’s more data about you in the machine than there is in your head. Algorithms are most effective at curating the information that’s hardest for us to hold in our heads: how long we talk to mom or what day of the week we splurge on an extra cookie.
What if Computers Know You Better Than You Know Yourself?, Slate March 3 2014
Below is the Prezi and some supplementary content for my Digital Humanities 2013 presentation on Project Hieroglyph.
You can learn more about the Center for Science and the Imagination at our website or by downloading our first Annual Report.
On the origins of Project Hieroglyph: you might want to read Neal Stephenson’s inital shot across the bow, Innovation Starvation, or some of the recent press about the project in Wired UK, CNN, the New York Times and elsewhere. You can also follow a site activity RSS feed here.
I’ll add more notes here based on feedback from the talk and any comments you’d like to leave.
You can follow the center at @imaginationASU on Twitter or on Facebook. I’m @zonal. And of course you should sign up for Project Hieroglyph yourself!
I sign up for my Day of DH 2013 website more or less after said day has already begun. And I have another short article I’ve promised to write tomorrow. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to sharing some of my work in progress–there is so much to talk about!
Cross-posted from the Center for Science and the Imagination Blog
This past fall I took part in a fascinating event on the future of education here at Arizona State University. It was organized by theGordon Commission and the Center for Games and Impact, and the instructions I got from Jim Gee were simple. Five minutes to give an experimental talk, with a maximum of two slides.
I decided to talk about a creative tool that has done more to unlock the human imagination than almost anything else: the humble pencil. You can inscribe the world with it, from writing poems and tracing inscriptions to poking holes, making music and holding your hair together. Plus most pencils come with an undo feature, so it’s a tool that teaches both sides of the creative coin: authoring and editing, marking and erasing, sharing and hiding. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the pencil. And I close with a question: how can we imagine the future pencil, the new tool that will change how we learn and share?
Last week saw the start of a new semester at ASU and the start of a new course I’m teaching, Media Literacies and Composition. It’s my first chance to teach our Digital Culture students and I’m excited to meet such a diverse group: musicians, film-makers, designers and artists. Oh, and a few writers to keep me company.
We’ll be looking at the ideas of close reading, composition and narrative in across a number of media old and new. And, since this is a digital culture course, the students will be making a lot of cool stuff as we go along. I’m looking forward to seeing it!
Newly released: American Dreamers, a collection of “dreams from optimists, inventors and mavericks with ideas for a brighter future.” My essay (online here) leads off the book with a look at the combustible, illuminating nature of good ideas and the unique optimism of the American Dream. It’s also a pretty good declaration of principles for what we are trying to accomplish at the Center for Science and the Imagination.
In From Codex to Hypertext: Reading at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Anouk Lang. U. of Massachusetts Press, 2012. Print.
After a few years of slumming it with free hosting I’ve ponied up for an actual (shared) server. Welcome to the new and improved* blog.
*Novelty and improvements forthcoming. Potentially.
The Legacy of David Foster Wallace. Ed. Samuel Cohen & Lee Konstantinou. University of Iowa, 2012. 151–176. Print.