Computers considered “eager but clueless”

A lovely post by Tom Coates following on from Kottke’s “metadazzle overfizzle” [which IMHO is much nicer shorthand for all this “what are the human experiences of the semantic web” gubbins than “metacrap”]:

“Because in fact it’s not that there’s too much metadata in the world, it’s that we have incredibly primitive and vestigial mechanisms to help us transcribe it from world to idiot-savant computer companion. We’re stuck in a middle-period between the emergence of useful computer processing power and the computer’s upcoming ability to self-annotate, transcribe and create metadata simply, elegantly (and in vast amount) in the background all the time. In the meantime our transcription processes are tedious and long, our computers eager but clueless – and the amounts of metadata available for any given thing trivial compared to the richness of information and association you could get from a genuinely interested and knowledgeable person. This will all change in time of course, but in the meantime (and in fact regardless, given the information we generate without even noticing it on a routine basis) we’re stuck writing love letters in Excel whether we want to or not.”

Very nice.

Coming back to Jason Kottke’s illustration – it’s so refreshing that it is an illustration. Makes the user-experience challenges so clear and marked. Marc Canter talked the about talkers and do-oers in the semantic-web in terms of negative and positive contribution.

Perhaps Marc forgets what Jason has done so well here: that there’s room for scribblers too… An honest and knowledgable interaction designer making some of the user-experiences concrete, if only in pixel form; can make a lot of difference to the debate.

But then I would say that, wouldn’t I.

» a frament of a world full of metadata

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