“Compulsory interaction, whether with a talking machine or a
stereotyped human, is itself a put-down or condescension.
(Note that on superhighways there is often a line of cars
behind the automatic toll booths, even when the manned
ones are open.) Moreover, faked interaction can be an
annoyance. (Consider the green light at the automatic toll
booth that lights up with a “thank you.”) Moreover, dialogue
by simple systems tends to have a fake quality. It is by no
means obvious that phony dialogue with a machine will
please the student.”
Feel like an American?
As someone who has not always been computer literate, this spoke to me directly. Being forced to engage with a machine that one does not understand, and being told by one’s teachers that “it’s very simple” becomes grating after a while. Nelson talks about designing media and computers for the future, and I think that is the right attitude. Bespoke technology is the ideal for which we reach, making a machine that works with as little training as possible for any person. However, it is important to remember that condescension is ingrained in our education system, as Nelson points out multiple times. I would submit that condescension has no place in the classroom of tomorrow, therefore in agreement with Nelson.
It is time for a classroom that doesn’t pander to children or make them feel inferior because they aren’t proficient in some subjects. It is time for computers and media to find a new place in the education system! Let us foster creativity and imagination, not stifle it as we are currently.
“But today, at this moment, we can and must design the media, design the molecules of our new water, and I believe the details of this design matter very deeply. They will be with us for a very long time, perhaps as long as man has left; perhaps if they are as good as they can be, man may even buy more time—or the open-ended future most suppose remains.
So in these pages I hope to orient you somewhat to various of the proposed dreams. This is meant also to record the efforts of a few Brewster McClouds, each tinkering toward some new flight of fancy in his own sensoarium.
But bear in mind that hard-edged fantasy is the corner of tomorrow. The great American dream often becomes the great American novelty. After which it’s a choice of style, size and financing plan.
The most exciting things here are those that involve
computers: notably, because computers will be embraced in
every presentational medium and thoughtful medium very
This passage shows the reasons why Nelson believes that everyone should try to understand computers. In this part the Dream Machine he takes a different approach in his writing. The passages had more pictures in them and to me made it more confusing to read. With all the pictures which seemed to be scattered throughout this part I lost found myself losing track of what he was saying. Within this passage he talks about how we are must design the media for tomorrow. Considering that this was written in 1974 I doubt he expected media to grow to this size and the use of computers. The media of today was shaped through the use of computers and grown and used in almost everything we do. He also uses Engelbart’s article to discuss ways we can change our thinking to better use and understand computers.