online: 2 may 2002

1 May 2002 the future of breathing

I am responding to an email from Eric Spain in Hong Kong. He writes:

'I certainly would like to read 'the future of breathing' -- it sounds like something that should be on your web site!!'

As I cannot find a digitised copy of this essay (which appears in the book 'designing designing' ADT/Phaidon Books, 1991) I decided to type out just one paragraph, chosen by chance, for Eric and for anyone else who may not have read it (page xx, first paragraph)... But as I read the paragraph I realise that it makes more sense if I also copy out the previous one:

I began this study by looking closely at "the industrial system as a whole", thinking, I suppose, that as the computer is a flexible and integrated thing its applications would be also. I imagined that the logic of this would bring about of its own accord the end of specialization and the beginning of a new kind of technology in which humanity prevailed and the mechanization of life would be over.
Perhaps the saddest bit of learning I've had to do in my life is to admit that this is not the case. Thirty years later most of the computer applications I see about me seem to have broken the promise of what I still see as the "gentle" nature of computers. The computers are being used to increase mechanization, not to supersede it.

[That was written in 1987]

Today I am putting these two paragraphs onto the website. Later, if I acquire a text scanner, or if I have the time and energy to retype the whole essay, I will put the rest of it on the website... and in the meantime my thanks to Eric Spain for suggesting this! I am glad to revive this question of the right use of computers... (and the right use of the car - which was the original subject of the essay).

My attempt at replying to these two paragraphs appears in daffodil eight. When that has been dispatched I may copy it here - for those who do not subscribe to daffodil (occasional email news of this website). If you wish to subscribe please send me an email with 'subscribe' in the subject line.

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© 2002 john chris jones

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