Interface Culture

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Oh please, please — I’m begging you here — go do yourself a favor and buy Steven Johnson’s Interface Culture this very moment. Please. Please.

I’ve been rereading my hilites from it, searching for an elusive quote and I’m just shocked again at how good this book is. I have no doubt whatsoever this will be a canon book from the late twentieth century. Don’t be fooled by the 3.5 stars in Amazon, it’s simply a 1997 book that’s still ahead of its time.

Johnson is lucid to (and over) the brink of genius when he talks about interface, technology, media, computers, the web, blogs (which he predicts 10 years ago), hypertext, novels, software, online communities, artificial intelligence, culture, design, agents, TV, life, the universe, and everything.

Being his first book, written in his late twenties, it is full of youthful passion, exhuberance, and raw virtuosity — but, get this, he is right.

This digital age belongs to the graphic interface, and it is time for us to recognize the imaginative work that went into that creation, and prepare ourselves for the imaginative breakthroughs to come. Information-space is the great symbolic accomplishment of our era. We will spend the next few decades coming to terms with it.

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