17.783 Real Soon Now, and the future

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Fri May 07 2004 - 16:59:47 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 783.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Fri, 09 Apr 2004 06:53:52 +0100
             From: Alexandre Enkerli <aenkerli@indiana.edu>
             Subject: RSN and Future Orientation


    To explore broader implications of the "Real Soon Now" principle you
    mentioned in connection to positivism in HC. Sorry if it's inappropriate
    and takes away anyone's "precious free time":

    To exacerbate a dichotomy, while the stereotypical humanist is thought to
    be a Luddite "living in the past," our passion for technology often
    translates into a tendency to only "live in the future" with the possible
    effect of waiting for great things to happen instead of focusing on the
    task at hand. This extreme formulation is meant to emphasize values, not
    incompatibilities as, we all know, computer-savvy humanists easily navigate
    between those extreme.
    Still, the orientation to the future relates to other aspects of HC. A
    common thread both in historical and current comments is the capacity, on
    the part of some people, to imagine what could be done. Some scholars, and
    Joe Raben's history mentioned several of them, are really good at
    envisioning possibilities and may ask technologists to develop specific
    products to fit these possibilities. Of course, this capacity relates to
    innovation and "outside-the box" thinking but as this ability is highly
    valued, some of us may constantly wait for the next big thing. It might be
    a personal thing but dreaming of "what could be" sometimes makes it hard
    to "live in the now."

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