Personal Dynamic Media

The assigned reading for today’s New Media Seminar is entitled “Personal Dynamic Media,” written by Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg in 1977 (two years after I was born). In this article, Kay and Goldberg look to the future and describe with remarkable accuracy the various components and capabilities of the modern day personal computer, including several ideas that have yet to be fully realized. After reading the article, I visited the Innovation Space at VT to find a quiet place to write this entry (only to find it was buzzing with activity in a good way) and to see if I could be inspired to think about what “future” new media might look like. It’s always surprising how a new environment can provide inspiration.

In parallel with this week’s seminar, I am hosting several colleagues from IITK, who are visiting VT for the second meeting of the IITK-VT partnership. A primary objective of our week-long meeting is to identify transformative research opportunities around the notion of sustainable infrastructure systems.

VT and IITK faculty in VT’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) in Alexandria

As I think in the Innovation Space, the worlds of the New Media Seminar and the IITK-VT partnership begin to collide. One question that emerges is what would a future technology platform look like that enables the design of sustainable infrastructure services in the US and India? What would be transformative about this platform from a technological and social perspective? I’m also left wondering how communities (including children) could be enabled by the technology platform rather than excluded from the learning process. I have several ideas about how to address these questions, but they need a little more finessing before being discussed here.