|Skills/Subjects:||biology, civic media, mathematics, physics|
Here’s some things I’m deeply interested in but don’t go into detail describing elsewhere on my site:
The most general way I can describe what I like to do is thus: I like learning how things work together and communicating that with others. For the most part, I’m more interested in the high-level, the big picture, and the concept, compared to individual or low-level implementations. For example, at RNOC I contributed to many projects and how RNOC itself works (or could work) though I also had a particular project I owned fully. You can also tell by what I read, the kind of games I play, and variety of projects posted here that I prefer to study the high-level complex, wicked problems of the world. I’m also strangely attracted to diagrams.
One particular subject related to high-level versus low-level interests is how phenomena can be described as emergent versus strictly reductionist. For example, how do flocks or swarms of animals move in sync, forming fantastic shapes and flowing arcs? Steven Strogatz’s TED Talk covers this and asks some other cool questions, like what the critical point is that a whole system exhibits emergent phenomena rather than separate, less impressive events. Henrik Jensen details this critical point mathematically by way of a sufficiently complex dynamic system with sudden jolts to spark self-organizing behavior. These jolts or uncertainties to an already complex system, like a neural network, are what ground Myrna Estrep’s model of natural intelligence. This is what excites me about urban computing and the possibilities of a more intelligent city, where its infrastructure is networked and interacts with its agentic human citizens. Is it possible our cities could become naturally intelligent via such emergent phenomena?
Innovative governance & smart cities
My primary research interests are public design, e-governance, and urban computing from an HCI and service design perspective. One of my big questions is how can cities (i.e. infrastructure, policy, and social aspects) be more responsive to its citizens? I’ve assessed the meaning, history, and current research on the subject through books, papers, and other media. I also speculate via projects in civic media, open data, and open government, in particular. I believe that social and civic technology will be the most critical factor in changes in humanity at large. So it’s also critical we get this right from the beginning.
I think that humans and their technology will converge as a new entity, meaningfully distinct from its human and machine progenitors. At such a moment, our own tech could be at least partially living and become an endosymbiont of humans. That is, will we co-evolve with this living tech (think 3d-printed blood cells) to the point that we’re mutually dependent? Would humans ever develop a new vital organ that could eventually be expressed by our own genes? I’m a human-computer interaction student because I think humans should be really, really sure about how they use technology to this end. It’s also all I can really do in my lifetime; feel free to upload me to the net like I’m a Cylon or Major Kusanagi, though, and I (it?) will keep working on it. How can we integrate tech into humanity without sacrificing or obsessing over either?
News, trends, opinions
Every day, I read or skim dozens of articles about design, technology, and news. Being constantly apprised of case studies, best practices, horrific practices, trends, flops, and what just does and does not work gives a more practical perspective to what makes a successful product or service. That is, compared to something academic or otherwise given to me by authority/empiricism. To get an idea, you can download my list of news, trends, and webcomics feeds I manage with Feedly.