summing up 98

summing up is a recurring series on topics & insights that compose a large part of my thinking and work. drop your email in the box below to get it – and much more – straight in your inbox.

How To Be a Systems Thinker, by Mary Catherine Bateson

There has been so much excitement and sense of discovery around the digital revolution that we’re at a moment where we overestimate what can be done with AI, certainly as it stands at the moment.

One of the most essential elements of human wisdom at its best is humility, knowing that you don’t know everything. There’s a sense in which we haven’t learned how to build humility into our interactions with our devices. The computer doesn’t know what it doesn’t know, and it's willing to make projections when it hasn’t been provided with everything that would be relevant to those projections.

after all, computers are still tools we should take advantage of, to augment ourselves to do things that were previously impossible, to help us make our lives better. but all too often it seems to me that everyone is used by computers, for purposes that seem to know no boundaries.

Fantasies of the Future: Design in a World Being Eaten by Software, by Paul Robert Lloyd

Drawing inspiration from architectural practice, its successes and failures, I question the role of design in a world being eaten by software. When the prevailing technocratic culture permits the creation of products that undermine and exploit users, who will protect citizens within the digital spaces they now inhabit?

We need to take it upon ourselves to be more critical and introspective. This shouldn’t be too hard. After all, design is all about questioning what already exists and asking how it could be improved for the better.

Perhaps we need a new set of motivational posters. Rather than move fast and break things, perhaps slow down and ask more questions.

we need a more thoughtful, questioning approach to digital. how does a single technology, a tool or a digital channels help us improve? the answer is out there somewhere, but he have to stop ourselves more often to ask "why?".

Storytime, by Ron Gilbert

The grand struggle of creativity can often be about making yourself stupid again. It's like turning yourself into a child who views the world with wonderment and excitement.

Creating something meaningful isn't easy, it's hard. But that's why we should do it. If you ever find yourself being comfortable on what you're making or creating, then you need to push yourself. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and push yourself to the point of failure and then beyond.

When I was a kid, we would go skiing a lot. At the end of the day all the skiers were coming to the lodge and I used to think it was the bad skiers that were covered in snow and it was the good skiers that were all cleaned, with no snow on them. But turns out to be the exact opposite is true: it was the good skiers that were covered in snow from pushing themselves, pushing themselves beyond the limits and into their breaking points, getting better and then pushing themselves harder. Creativity is the same thing. It's like you push hard, you push until you're scared and afraid, you push until you break, you push until you fall and then you get up and you do it again. Creativity is really a journey. It's a wonderful journey the you part you start out as one person and that you end as another.

it's always a lot harder to create something meaningful than just creating something. but that's exactly the reason why you should do it. a great talk by one of my favourite game designers.

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