Bait and Switch?

By , posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2007 at 6:15 pm.

Tim Bray pulled what I would think is a typical university lecture today. One half of the presentation that was advertised as:

“Whether or not you have any use for the term ‘Web2.0,’ it is undeniable that recent years have seen an explosion of creativity on the Internet… we should think together what kind of future Net we want, and what tools we need to get there.”

It raised some interesting ideas about how Web2.0 – commenting how the “continuous partial attention” or “ambient intimacy” is really changing the way that we have communicated – from the scope of audience to the ephemerality of the message to the latency between sender and receiver – from the basic face to face and print to “print plus (my term)” and “f2f plus” again with technology helping to shape the various elements of how the message exists.

Tim then left us hanging with an invite to all the Humanities people out there to explore this amazing opportunity.

The next part of the talk (he warned us about the split nature of the talk) was about Wide Finder and getting programs to run well on wide machines rather than tall ones (Moore’s law on its side) and how the use of functional languages like erlang might well be the answer to this other great problem for the (computing) Sciences.

So what part of this was B&S? well, both and neither. He was talking to an Arts and Science audience, he presented great problems for both sides to walk away and ponder on – and did it with style mind you – but in the end, both were kinda hollow…

So, sitting somewhere between Arts and Science… what am I thinking? If you put the two of these problems together, you might be able to develop something that really understands natural language and brings some manner of next generation web (not Web3 per se – which Tim is a critic of and offers a reward if someone comes up with a way to do it… I think… ).

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