First of all, thank you so much for agreeing to submit a page to this book.
One page is not a lot so please feel free to include links to other relevant works which elaborate on your thoughts. We define a page as around 500 words though if you feel you can express what you want to say in less than that, that is fine and we can accommodate slightly longer sections as well.
The deadline for submissions is the 9th of December but of course it would be great to go through the work far earlier than that.
As for the content, we will help you copy-edit of course and we suggest choosing from the following topics, but remember, you were chosen for a reason so it would be great if you write from your particular perspective and not try to over-think text in other areas than what you care passionately about.
We expect to divide the book up along the following subjects/questions, but please don’t feel constrained by this:
Focus : Text
Forgive me for writing it but the focus is text and the possible futures of text, not on how text will be displaced by pictures, video, voice and so on.
- Addressing, Connecting & Linking, connecting the textual neutrons of the digital global brain
- Magical Writing, Magical Reading without technological, financial or other concerns
- Emergence from Emergencies. How can improving text address fake news, information overload and so on, at a time of turbulent political and natural climate?
- Translations between peoples, languages and to readers of the future
- Hypertexts. How can text go beyond the page and what are the original ideas behind hypertext and symbol manipulation?
- Text & Image. How can text and other media build on each others strengths?
- IA & IA. How can Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Augment Intelligence in areas of textual dialogue?
- Infrastructures. What prevents our from smoothly connecting texts, peoples and times? Conversely, what do we have which can make it more powerful but we are not taking advantage of? This addresses the current technical underpinnings
- Reading in the Brain. What are the biological underpinnings of orthography and what are the neurological constraints and opportunities to more powerful text interactions?
- Thoughts to our Distant Descendants. How did a person in 2020 try to connect with their own thoughts and the thoughts of others in order to being about better understanding? Where did we fail? Where did we succeed?
- & Action Stations: What should we do NOW?
Writing the Next Chapter in Writing
Writing emerged a little over 5,000 years ago and alphabetic writing only emerged once, in the turquoise mines in the Sinai. Over time it has become a highly efficient means of recording and communicating but in the 50 or so years of digital writing the innovations which started out so powerfully in the minds of the true pioneers of Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson and others, have gotten stuck with blue links and spell-check. Mostly.
What are the real potentials of text? Only together can we even begin to unleash its power.
The Spirit of The Book
In 2020 we are only half-way through our sun’s lifecycle, living on a planet roughly a third as old as the universe itself, having developed into humans only 100-200, years ago as part of a direct lineage going back over 4 billion years.
This is an amazing time.
Humans are not a sedentary species, we are the only species to explore even when we have resources to survive, owing perhaps to changes in our environment 135,000 years ago†.
We are now leaving our physical habitat for a digital one, much like we first stepped out of the oceans partly as amphibians who needed access to water and then later as dry-natives who only dipped in for food or fun. We are now stepping into what I like to call another liquid environment–an environment where the potential for rich and smooth interactions are immense. But instead of thawing the information previously stored on paper substrate, we have only broken it into chunks with the most tenuous connections, ice-cubes in a glass of water if I may be poetic about it.
We are clearly not at the pinnacle of what being human is, nor have we developed our last bit of technology.
However, it is very hard to see ourselves as part of a continuity which will hopefully stretch even further into the future.
Most of the attention for how we can improve our communication and interactions center on technologies which mimic immediateness with our experiences, such as the amazing VR ability to look like you are somewhere where you are not, and layers on top of the world through AR.
Not much attention goes to the medium which took us out of what is visually present and allowed us to record and communicate ideas and thoughts beyond objects: Text.
We don’t define text rigidly as this would artificially constrain this future. The essential element of text is its symbolic meaning, which even the first red dot in the cave provided – giving it the property of communication over time. Further is the grammar which connects pieces into greater wholes. As for the rest, let’s look into that together.futureoftext.org/symposium.html
Frode Hegland London 2019
If you have any questions or suggestions, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org