pencil and paper thinking

bret victor:

All of the examples I've shown here are hints. They are nibbling at the corners of a big problem - what is this new medium for understanding systems? We must get away from pencil-and-paper thinking. Even when working on the computer, we still think in representations that were invented for the medium of paper.

i am a big fan of bret's work, but his talk media thinking for the unthinkable is especially mind blowing. the examples bret is showing are partially so ingenious, that i can't keep of thinking about why we don't have these tools already.

while these are great ideas though, they still nibble at the corners of a big problem. since i've seen his talk, i am starting to notice this exact problem everywhere. think about programming, where you code in languages which were designed for writing. think about documents you write and read in sheet of paper akin programs. think about content you still cut, copy and paste around.

it makes me sad, that we are reducing our so powerful computers to represent and act on content which was originally conceived for paper. computers we carry around in our pockets or put on our desks and walls.

luckily, here and there, people are thinking about our future with computers & media, and hopefully a new medium - without pencil and paper.