fri4aug2006—31w216d59%— 09h04m00s—0utc

No one knows what it would do to a creative brain to think creatively continously. Perhaps the brain, like the heart, must devote most of its time to rest between beats. But I doubt that is true. I hope it is not, because [interactive computers] can give us our first look at unfettered thought. It can allow a decision maker to do almost nothing but decision making, instead of processing data to get into a position to make the decision.

J.C.R. Licklider, Invited commentary after “The Computer in the University” talk by Alan Perlis at the Sloan School of Business Administration, April 1961, as quoted by M. Mitchell Waldrop, The Dream Machine, p180 EE (emphasis added)

The mouth-wide-open wonder at today’s technologic possibilities that begun with my grandfather’s mosaic ELZR, has not subdued — what with my succesful cloning of The Economist ELZR tables or my quick spidering ELZR — but it has gradually become an expectation. I’ve thought long and hard about it and am finally ready to accept it.

Because, in the end, disbelief of what we can now accomplish is only laziness by another name. I have a (much cherished) cousin who shuns digital photography altogether because it’s too easy. I say that’s bollocks. If manipulating photos is now mom’s play, that only means the challenge moves to being creative with the tools at hand. And when machines become creative (as they will no doubt do), then our challenge will be to find good things for them to be creative at. And when they figure that out — well, we’d better be seafaring EE by then.

But after all, civilization is some 15k years old, so what’s the wonder? We should be gods by now (and we are, in a way).

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