Total Desk Idea

Sit Japanese style with monitor in front and keyboard resting on knees.  Monitor is angled and the BACK of the monitor is a touch surface corresponding to the surface of the front facing monitor.  Moving your fingers over the surface moves a cursor for each finger.  Pressing into the slightly malleable surface performs the equivalent of “click”, except with modifications based on number of fingers used, configuration, etc.

Requires some thought into the subtleties of the posture and the angles and heights.  But ingeneral I consider it to be a sound mid-term interface to interact with information.

But, longer term, the best strikes me as sitting upright (lotus or seiza) with some sort of direct visual feed (Google Glasses, et cetera) and gesture based interfaces in a 3d operating system/”desktop” workspace.  Gesture, being, ideally, eye movement, slight finger movement, etc.  A scenario tweaked to maximize the bandwidth between user and used.  For instance, towards achieving an ideal marriage between kinesthetics and vision, I would position the “visible field” as always being between the hands.  This might actually be physically disorienting at first, like a fever, because sitting upright and looking somewhat forward, your visual field would be filled with the “user interface” which would itself be surrounded by some “virtual hands” that do exactly what your hands do yet are up as if you were holding your arms out (gorilla arms), except your arms will themselves be hanging at your sides and your hands will be working with a small (chi ball) space in your lap.  I don’t know if you can get a feel for what that would feel like, but I sense it would take some getting used to.

And in just the same way, I imagine the OS would be adapting itself to the user.  Ahh, it’ll be nice to get out of these Dark Ages of inferior interfaces with information.  Imagine how bright the world will be when our curiosity can directly frolic in meaning itself.  This will be possible when the OS and the technology disappear entirely [and socially antagonizing factors] and the reality of the thing bakes itself into our very bodies (DNA, et cetera).  But then, we’ll be radically different too (those socially antagonizing factors will doubtless rear their heads here [and against many dystopias, thankfully!]).

How we’ll be different is the really difficult thing to predict.  It’s the same as wondering how will this process change us as we drive its change?  From the process’ perspective, it is “wondering” (oriented towards) how will these people change me as I change them?

Anyway, little bit passed the “Total Desk Idea” now.  Or, am I?…  In the post-PC era, perhaps the old “desktop” metaphor for OS UI’s is a little outdated, but that’s not even approaching whether or not the idea might be antiquated in terms of those “wooden desks”, too.  A desk is a workspace for “information”.  Just as a workbench is a workspace for “wood and metal”.  As the information media changes, our workspace changes accordingly.  I think it’s probably been said before, but even as traditional desktops were ported into electronic virtual spaces, electronic virtual spaces are replacing desktops.

As paper shuffling wanes and traditional bit shuffling waxes one wonders what comes next in the cycle.

Wizardry, perhaps.  Which, today, for me, means something like: Socratic sign language programming.  And our desk becomes an embodied API we’ve built with the world that we carry around “in our minds” as a representation and its infrastructure (in quotes, because really our minds will be partly composed of it, not containers of it [but also accurate, in my reckoning, because to be of something is to contain that something, which is to say, with Aristotle, that A is A and that “of” and “contain” in this sense are equal]).  Like a neuron sending out dendrites, we’ll “code” or buy “ready-made” implementations of public-resource interfaces (information, computation, reasoners, 3d printing, et cetera).

And in this sense our identity will further extend outwards while also solidifying internally.  But that’s an esoteric angle concerning wave/particle duality and the nature of “what is“, so I wouldn’t worry about it just yet.

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