Thursday, May 22, 2014

The OTHER Kind of Interactivity

Coming from the field of HCI-D the term “interactive” has certain connotations... that... I am beginning to have issues with. Information, data, pre-programed software, hardware, pixels... these things have no life of their own. And yet we glory in our ability to “interact” with them. Framed in this way it all sounds pretty boring and just a little wrong to me. Here are a few bits from one of my favorite passages in Jaron Laniers book "You Are Not A Gadget." I think they are relevant here...

“Information wants to be free.”
I say that information doesn’t deserve to be free.

Cybernetic totalists love to think of the stuff as if it were alive and had its own ideas and ambitions. But what if information is inanimate? What if it’s even less than inanimate, a mere artifact of human thought? What if only humans are real, and information is not?
Information is alienated experience (Lanier 2009).”

In March of 2013 I became deeply and helplessly obsessed with modern board games. In the world of contemporary tabletop games the term “interactive” means something very specific and very different than in HCI-D. It means two or more people interacting with one another via a system of meditation (e.g. a board game). I don’t think the term “interactive” is ever used in the context of board games to discuss anything but human-human interaction (albeit mediated by the game system).

I think HCI’s notion of interactivity stinks. This is one reason in a long list of reasons that I will continue to be obsessed with board games.

No comments:

Post a Comment