relationship with our tools? NO.

Tue, 8 Dec 1998 12:04:07 -0800 (PST)

On Tue, 8 Dec 1998, RE01 Rice Brian T. EM2 wrote:

> > TUNES is not a being.  It isn't any more alive than Linux is.  TUNES is a
> > dynamic, evolving software project.  That means it only evolves at the
> > whim of its users and coders.  We should not desire the computer to take
> > control of its own evolution.  It might be a fun experiment, but the
> > purpose of TUNES is to make a useful system.  If the system is not
> > completely controllable by the user at all times, how is it useful? 
> > 
> Get an imagination!  Tunes is an age-old idea which has been waiting for
> devices which could propel it into reality.  Tunes is not about software,
> it's a kind of relationship between people and linear machines (in the sense
> of Turing machines being abstract notions).  It's about how people think
> about _things_.  Computers don't and can't _control_ anything.  They are
> expressions in the space of linear thinking.  Complete control is an
> illusion, unless the context transcends our paradigm of control.

What age old idea?  An intelligent machine?  That way lies insanity.

Linear thinking?  Perhaps you mean Von Neumann architecture.  I thought
one thing TUNES should do is not be based on VN arch, at least serial
languages like C.

What sense do you mean control?  A computer is meant to control the
devices it is connected to.  The computer itself is controlled by means of
its program.  I said I want the user to control every aspect of the
program. (I.e. stuff the "programmer" and "system programmer" only
controlled before)

And how do people think about things?

> > The desire to create artificially intelligent (autonomous) computer
> > software is the REASON why existing systems are so stupid!  If you assume
> > your product will be SELF CAPABLE, why make it easy for the user to get
> > inside it and change what's going on?  Programmers design their programs
> > to be complete solutions to a problem, unchangeable by users, because of
> > their ego!  So the moment things change, their work is obsolete.  This
> > could be as soon as a user gives the program some input the coder didn't
> > expect.
> > 
> No assumption there, unless of course you realize that my product is not
> something which will fit on a linear machine!  The user takes part, and the
> key to the success of this interface is the kind of analysis that I am doing
> (I hope).

What exactly kind of analysis are you doing?  I know it's about HCI, but
AFAIK our goal in TUNES is to allow the HCI to be configurable down to the
core of the system.  Our job isn't to design a HCI but to design a
reflective system which can adapt to any HCI.  I hope I'm not
contradicting anything I said before on this.

> > Tools are an extension of thought (in the reaching out sense, not in the
> > truth value sense).  If you depend on your tools without thinking (HINT: 
> > Worship them), then you bring ruin, because the tools depend on thought.
> > 
> And I'm arguing for a revolution in _thought_, in your ontology.

And how do you want me to think after this revolution (as compared to how
I think now, as asked above)?

> > TUNES is not about establishing a "partnership" with the computer.  It is
> > establishing new partnerships with other *people*.  [,,,] We need to
> > minimize
> > interaction with the computer itself and allow direct access to ideas and
> > people.  Otherwise computers are useless.
> > 
> You don't call your relationship to a telephone a partnership?  The
> telephone, by being part of your implicit context, shapes you, just as
> humans shape the telephone's role in society.

You are missing my point.  I said technology should be unobtrusive.
Obviously technology affects us.  More importantly, we should never
convince ourselves that technology is alive. 

In the context of TUNES, TUNES should allow users direct access to their
information and concepts.  Each user wants different aspects of the same
information to be visible, so TUNES allows maximum flexibility of what is
shown and what is hidden.

TUNES is about integrating computer science, logic, and mathematics.  If
you are thinking that it will have a personality, it won't on my machine.

David Manifold <>
This message is placed in the public domain.