Thursday, April 22, 2010

We Are Spime Wranglers!

"Having conquered the world made of bits, you need to reform the world made of atoms. Not the simulated image on the screen, but corporeal, physical reality. Not meshes and splines, but big hefty skull-crackingly solid things that you can pick up and throw. That's the world that needs conquering. Because that world can't manage on its own. It is not sustainable, it has no future, and it needs one."

Today I stumbled upon a transcript from a (rather inspiring) speech given by science fiction author Bruce Sterling at a 2004 computer graphics conference.

Sterling begins by giving a brief treatment of the different classes of objects that humans have created throughout history: Artifacts, Machines, Products, Gizmos, and Blobjects. And marching after these classes of objects, says Sterling, will come the Spimes.

Spimes are objects that are "have identities, they are protagonists of a documented process." In Sterling's imagination, Spimes reveal to you information about their origin, ownership, ingredients, ways to customize, and market value. Spimes can update themselves and inform you when they need service. Spimes are open and transparent.

And, perhaps most relevant to the LearnMakeCupcake project—"A true Spime creates spime wranglers. Wranglers are the class of people willing to hassle with Spimes. And it is a hassle. An enormous hassle. But its a fruitful hassle. It is the work of progress. Handled correctly, it can undo the harm of the past and enhance what is to come."

Sterling does not, however, suggest that his vision is without menaces, without a potential dark side. I am in agreement with Sterling there. That's why I want to be a Spime Wrangler. That's why I do HCDE.

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