Friday, February 3, 2012

Technology and Tweeting in Morse Code

Well this is fun.  Someone has built a gadget to send Twitter messages via Morse Code.  Just imagine how useful that is!  Well, ok, maybe you should look at it as art instead.  You can read all about this Arduino-based project here.
I kind of like these sorts of technology-for-art's-sake projects.  I especially like the mixing of old and new.  It makes you ask some basic questions about exactly what "technology" is.  Clearly the telegraph key was high tech at one time or another, but it is far from it now.  Alan Kay once said (I'm paraphrasing) that technology is stuff that was invented during your life time.  Danny Hillis said that technology is everything that doesn't work.  An interesting implication of this definition is that once things work they get sucked into our lives, become invisible, and we stop seeing them as technology.  Douglas Adams saw three categories of things:

  1. Things that are already in the world when you are born.  This is "normal" stuff
  2. Things that are invented between then and the time you turn 30.  This stuff is all incredibly exciting and fun.
  3. Things that are invented after you turn 30.  These tend to be against the natural order of things and generally indicate the end of civilization as we know it.
What does technology mean to you?