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Wednesday, August 11 2021
2:30am - 3:50am

Ted Nelson: HCI Constructs Then and Now

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HCI might do well to stand for human-CONSTRUCT interaction, since the computer has no intrinsic nature except the constructs we impose. Many of today’s constructs are evil, especially the single-column document and the hidden buffer called the “clipboard,” and cut-and-paste being renamed (examples from Tolstoy and the New York Times).
Ted will discuss today’s world as the result of mistakes he and others made. Ted says, “When I imagined interactive screens in 1960, I imagined not a 3D viewer (now called VR), but rotatable ND, which I called a Splandrome, as the center of Splandremics, now called HCI.”
Recommended: Ted Nelson’s favorite presentation ever, TEDtalk by Ted at the TED2 conference, 1990 (YouTube).
Ted Nelson, born 1937, calls himself not a techie or a geek, but a “systems humanist,” like Buckminster Fuller. Born of theatrical parents but raised in New York City by his maternal grandparents, Ted was a media and film buff from childhood and became an accomplished writer at a young age. At Swarthmore College, on the basis of his student film, he decided he was really a filmmaker, which led directly to his computer innovations. He is best known for the books Computer Lib (1974) and Literary Machines (1981), coining the word “hypertext,” and Project Xanadu, Ted’s effort to build a global hypertext system before the existence of the web.

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