Bill Buxton's closing keynote at CHI 2008, Florence
Cellini was a master goldsmith. But he aimed for something higher. For years tried to be as good as Michaelangelo.
Even a talent as great as Mozart’s did not emerge from a vacuum. He was a product of a culture that had evolved to reflect a particular set of values, with or without him. He needed a great teacher (his father), new instruments (fortepiano), and also concert halls to perform his art. What if Leopold Didn’t Have a Piano?
Technology is not good,
technology is not bad,
but nor is it neutral.
Invention is the mother of necessity.
The level of discourse about technology, and human-computer interfaces in particular, is awful. He contrasted two articles he and he wife were reading on a plane recently: hers was a review of an art exhibit, his a review of the $100 laptop (OLPC). Hers was deeply written and considered the exhibit within social, historical, and philosophical contexts -- something that's just naturally a part of art criticism; his talked about technical specs and barely considered the human context of the device. We don't have a well-developed practice of "interaction criticism" (a theme that popped up elsewhere at CHI too). HCI professionals should take time out to write for a public audience. (from questiontechnology.org)
… the explorer is actually one who "seeks discoveries," He is not simply and solely the "discoverer." Instead the accent is upon the process and activity, with advances in knowledge simply fortunate through expected incidents along the way. It is likewise not casual. It is purposeful.
– Goetzmann (1966), p. xi
Can cultures change? Yes, if you consider that you are not permitted smoking in Italy anymore, and that you are ought to clean up your pet's poo.