[Humanist] 25.504 where the thrill is

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Nov 23 09:48:15 CET 2011

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 504.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 09:06:05 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: getting to the thrill

I take Stephen Woodruff's point, in Humanist 25.500, that hackers love 
to play with the tools and build things, while end-users just want the 
thing to work. But what I suppose I was really getting at was in Daniel 
Alllington's analogy to the musician and instrument. While I don't want 
to deny the pleasures and achievements of hacking -- far from that, I 
once was an assembly-language programmer and *loved* twiddling the bits 
-- I think we're feeling our way toward a third kind of relationship, to 
use Allington's metaphor: between the instrument maker and the listener 
is the musician. 

I think the concept "end-user" seriously inhibits our ability to think beyond 
the Fordist model of industrial manufacturing, in its deleterious effects no 
more vividly illustrated than by Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times (1936, 
also the year of Turing's paper). As I like to ask, what sorts of 
people do we call "users"? Do we really want to be positioning our 
audience at the end of a production-line?

Professor Willard McCarty, Department of Digital Humanities, King's 
College London; Professor (fractional), University of Western Sydney; 
Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.isr-journal.org); Editor, 
Humanist (www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist/); www.mccarty.org.uk/

More information about the Humanist mailing list