““Devices” which variously store, retrieve, or manipulate information in the form of messages embedded in a medium have been in existence for thousands of years. People use them to communicate ideas and feelings both to others and back to themselves. Although thinking goes on in one’s head, external media serve to materialize thoughts and, through feedback, to augment the actual paths the thinking follows. Methods discovered in one medium provide metaphors which contribute new ways to think about notions in other media.
For most of recorded history, the interactions of humans with their media have been primarily nonconversational and passive in the sense that marks on paper, paint on walls, even “motion” pictures and television, do not change in response to the viewer’s wishes. A mathematical formulation—which may symbolize the essence of an entire universe—once put down on paper, remains static and requires the reader to expand its possibilities.”
– Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg
This article came out in 1977, when the potential of media was still fairly new and open for advances. However, Kay and Goldberg convey the uses of media in this segment, which are still valid as of today. They wrote this article about the Dynabook, which looks a lot like today’s tablets. Kay proposed the idea of this personal computer for children in 1972. For this nugget, I’m going to use the computer, cellphones, tablets, anything that can store, retrieve, and manipulate information, as examples. They mention how media serves our thoughts and provide feedback; feedback in this case would not be criticism, but more as information and results of a search. We use computers to express our emotions, ideas, and thoughts to the world. They provide us with relief and release of concepts and contributions.
Mobile phones had only been around for a few years before this article was published, and texting most definitely did not exist… leaving the computer as a primary source of forming mediums and research. Although the internet didn’t really flourish until the 1990’s, people still referred to their computer as an expansion of possibilities. Kay and Goldberg enhanced this concept to produce something that would have benefited children and advanced media during that time.