Jakob’s most recent In the Future, We’ll All Be Harry Potter (Alertbox Dec. 2002) is a pleasent little […]

Jakob’s most recent In the Future, We’ll All Be Harry Potter (Alertbox Dec. 2002) is a pleasent little riff on Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke’s quote “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” It’s a nice change of pace from the sturm and drang we’ve been seeing lately, and is marred only by the somewhat threatening last paragraph.


Add Yours
  1. 2

    “Designers who inflict poor usability on the world and its Muggles are wicked wizards indeed.”

    Yeah…it’s always the designers fault.

  2. 4

    Lacking any decent definition of usability it has to be defined as “what usability experts do” — just like IA is what IAs do.

    From Dilbert:
    – That’s circular reasoning!
    – I prefer to think of it as having no loose ends.

    … so, yes, since designers are the ones doing stuff it *has* to be their fault. 🙂

  3. 5

    To put it another way — if it was up to me the world would be like I wanted it to be. Everybody else *is* to blame that this is not the case.

    Sorry for saying this in 3 posts and not 1.

  4. 7

    Explaining *why* it’s always the designers fault. 🙂 Seen from JN’s angle.

    I’ll try to disagree with you instead next time.

  5. 8
    Hanan Cohen

    What is missing from this Alertbox?

    You got it right!

    Jakob didn’t try to sell us anything. That’s very nice of him. Maybe it’s the spirit of the holidays.

  6. 10
    Manu Sharma

    Not a dissection this time…just a few comments.

    Do we really want technologies that overwhelm us? I, for one, find pervasive computing a challenging scenario. I don’t want inanimate objects screaming at me. I don’t want the mirror to tell me how I look! And I don’t want the refrigerator ordering groceries for me.

    But it isn’t just that. Some of these technologies may be really helpful yet most of the examples I hear expect us to give up control. Would it be so easy? Would we be willing to relinquish control and have computers think for us? Like us?

    As technology gets sufficiently advanced and if we indeed get to see computers that think like us in our lifetime, it’ll be a scary place to live. Call it the Frankenstein complex or the fear of the unknown, if a vast majority of our population is intimidated by technology today, imagine how would it be when it’s everywhere.

    I doubt that it’ll go down easy. And I think Issac Asimov understood this better than anyone else. The last two stories in “I, Robot” are particularly illuminating, as are many of his other works [I hear the book is being made into a movie].

    Just one last thing, I didn’t really get how do I store “thoughts and memories” if I get a smart device to track my schedule and the people I meet; and with the ability to view my security surveillance tape taken during the wait at the airport [how exciting]. Dubious next generation magic, this.

    Actually, I’d love a device that lets me do that. Perhaps I need to implant a chip in my brain that can transfer my thoughts to my hard disk. Hmm.

    For any _intelligent_ discussion on Harry Potter “technologies,” read “The Science of Harry Potter” [amazon] released in October this year.

  7. 11
    Lyle Kantrovich

    Actually, I couldn’t stand that Alertbox installment. Aren’t there thousands of people out there telling us technology will solve all our problems? Why do we need to hear that from Jakob?

    Jakob as Technocrat just seems fake to me — Jakob should always be a Techno-cynic in order to be consistent. Consistency is one of his 10 heuristics you know… 🙂

Comments are closed.