the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

reed and lanier on limiting design

Posted by rigorousm on February 4, 2015

Computer scientist and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier warns that when machines are design to facilitate one kind of creativity, they often stamp out other kinds. This basic phenomenon is called “lock-in”:

Lock-in… removes design options based on what is easiest to program, what is politically feasible, what is fashionable, or what is created by chance.

Lock-in removes ideas that do not fit into the winning digital representation scheme, but it also reduces or narrows the ideas it immortalizes, by cutting away the unfathomable penunmbra of meaning that distinguishes a word in natural language from a command in a computer program.

— S. Alexander Reed, Assimilate: a critical history of industrial music, 132.

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