Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Open Intelligence

I've got a hella long stretch ahead of me to convert an enormous folder full of Silverlight controls over to the new design scheme (due in 2 weeks, I might add). As a Designer, imagine the unbearable: measuring 26 pixels high, 20 pixels for the text (12pt user interface font regular), 6 pixels down, 2 pixels up -- and that's just to correct the header MULTIPLIED BY god knows how many subcontrols. And then, of course, there's the actual skinning of each element individually. In two weeks.

And two steps into the process (after measuring the block headers, apparently) I realized the simple effect reducing a block header size had on the overall appearance of the page: The content visually jumped out ahead of the headers! And when I saw the content jump out at me I realized that I was building a more "intelligent" interface. Not the kind to fear (as in the "Artificial Intelligence" sense), but in the "learning" sense of the word, as it shows you what you seek to know.

This is when I hit my tangent: Wondering how we have come to fear the intelligence of a machine? Shouldn't we simply look at our computers as something which extends our capabilities? To look towards a point in time at which the machines no longer need us is to imagine a human species that no longer needs its planet. Life without trees wouldn't necessitate a Google search for trees. They'd be more of a Wikipedia entry that rarely gets updated as little happens in a world that no longer exists.

In today's world, our technology is transforming into a global network. The corporations are enforcing "network policies" to enforce their restrictions on our rights. This mentality is the atom bomb of our generation -- with great power in the hands of a select few -- power that could begin vast global wars and end whole countries by shutting down their electrical grid, destroying their knowledge base, thus sending their civilizations back into the dark ages with one strike.

I'm glad to be doing my part to open this knowledge from the very beginning of the Web 2.0. While our software works to keep its content safe from those who haven't gained appropriate access, it also promotes sharing amongst its users, and a sense of community throughout the digital reflection of their work days. But I'm even more happy to see my interface shaping out to an "Open Intelligence" that will hopefully one day rule the world! :D

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