Applications: Reading and Response 2

Bridging the Gap

I throughly enjoyed this essay.

It takes curiosity creativity, and guts to search out ground as new as this. To pull two such, seemingly, disparate ideas together. Laurel makes the blind leap from human/computer interaction to Aristotle’s Six Elements of Drama with aplomb. At first, I wasn’t convinced that it could be done. But she’s very insightful and she ends up making a pretty convincing argument. There are points that she doesn’t totally connect, but overall there’s a very interesting comparison between Aristotle’s elements of drama and human/computer interaction. I’ll definitely using this mode of thinking when developing concepts in the future.

Quick refresher for those reading along at home who don’t have a working knowledge of Aristotle and his critical analysis of the fundamental elements of drama:

Aristotle's Elements of Drama (and Human/Computer Interaction)
Aristotle’s Elements of Drama (and Human/Computer Interaction)

Each element illuminates an aspect of human/computer interaction. Each one offers a new way to look at this usually dull engagement with have with a machine. Each one practically kicks you down a wildly fun path of consideration and contemplation.

Form as Character

For me the most interesting element and its comparison is the notion of “character.” For ever, it seems like, the idea has been to make the character of a computer more like the character of a human: artificial intelligence. The goal is, apparently, to make computers more like us. As God made Man in his own image, so Man has with computers. Except when they write our histories it will be Siri instead of Eve.

This has been accomplished so far by instilling our PCs with voice recognition. A melodic voice. But no real personality. These are certainly technical feats, but they’re nothing closer to developing a computer with true character. In fact, I think that this “character” shouldn’t come from a fake person built in code that lives in the CPU. I’m much more interested in the idea that the form itself is imparted with character.

I always come back to the Proverbial Wallet project . I’m totally enamored with it. It’s brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. It’s a totally novel interaction that with an object that has so much character. This is the ideal for me. The personality of the object/computer isn’t determined by a personality algorithm. The thing itself has personality. It wouldn’t be itself without it. It would be a different thing.

What would a computer look, feel, act like if it had the same personalities as Laurel? Curious, creative, gutsy? I’m not convinced it would be a metal box, same as all the others. But I’m eager to find out.