Deep Human Nature

Deep Human Nature

The limits of our thinking, and the shape of our instinct. This essay starts off by discussing the limits of human reasoning, moves into an examination of our basic sub-rational drives (and how we ourselves exploit those drives to survive, with hideous consequences),...
Are Computers Just a Waste of Time?

Are Computers Just a Waste of Time?

Is this all a big cyber-shuck? Several recent books have announced a cyber-backlash. First published was Silicon Snake Oil by Clifford Stoll, then City Lights Books released Resisting the Virtual Life by James Brook and Iain A. Boal. Both works make sobering and...
Games: The Final Destiny

Games: The Final Destiny

Games are finally IT! It’s finally becoming clear. After years of thinking that computers were mainly useful for business, and games were only a sideline, the PC industry is coming round with astonishing speed. Some Facts New home PCs are now generally more...
I Only Know What I Read

I Only Know What I Read

A nice bed under which to collect the dustbunnies of random realization. I don’t read as much as I’d like to, but now and again, when I do, I get a clue of some kind that’s worth remembering. And often, if it’s worth remembering, it’s...
Guided depth: The teaching PC

Guided depth: The teaching PC

Computers’ transformation of education is just beginning to gel. [This was a piece I wrote for, potentially, the Intelligent Agent section in Wired. Since writing it I’ve learned a lot about what’s wrong with the sort of cyberphilia that permeates...
Flow: What’s worth living for?

Flow: What’s worth living for?

Wondering what happiness is? Wonder no more. In late 1994, I read a book named Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by one Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The book has had a lasting effect on me, and the concept of flow has worked itself deeply into my thinking. This...
Diversity or Consistency?

Diversity or Consistency?

The upcoming post-modern political upheaval. A political proposition for you: The dominant political issue in the world is not about conservatism versus liberalism, nor about rich versus poor. The driving split is between those who believe there is a single right way...