Tag: Lone Wolf

What Books Will Become (Part 2 of 2)

by on May.09, 2011, under Articles, Books, Computers, Design & Development, Gaming, Information Technology, Internet, Science, Technology, Video Games, Videos, Visual Media, Writing

Recently I came across this article, which takes an even more in-depth look at the possibilities of where books could go.

What Books Will Become by Kevin Kelly [KK.org/TheTechnium]

That is a long article and I’m sure enthusiasts, such as myself, likely read it all. For those of you not interested in reading the entire thing, here are some interesting points I’d like to point out and discuss. In Part 1 we discussed the problem with the word books and the transition to non-book formats.

Picking up where we left off:

At the same time, a screen that we watch can watch us. The tiny eyes built into your tablet, the camera that faces you, can read your face. Prototype face tracking software can already recognize your mood, and whether you are paying attention, and more importantly where on the screen you are paying attention. It can map whether you are confused by a passage, or delighted, or bored. That means that the text could adapt to how it is perceived. Perhaps it expands into more detail, or shrinks during speed reading, or changes vocabulary when you struggle, or reacts in a hundred possible ways. There are numerous experiments playing with adaptive text. One will give you different summaries of characters and plot depending on how far you’ve read.

This is where we start getting into interesting areas of information technology and adaptive text. I both like and hate this idea. As a gamer I find this idea intriguing. As a reader I’m not sure I like this. The article goes on to discuss that adaptive text has never been widely accepted. I remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books and Lone Wolf books that were effectively the same thing but relegated to the children’s book section. Perhaps with the growing number of adults who are used to playing video games, books might become a more interactive media.

The article also discusses the idea of the inclusion of movies inside text. I recently attended a seminar given by Edward Tufte, a well-known name in Information Technology, who talks about, prior to the invention of the printing press, it was common for images to be included, in-line, with text. It is an idea that modern technology limits us from, even today. In order to embed an image for you to see here in this blog, I have to set alignments and specialized tags. Images and text don’t flow well together in modern technology. This is something I personally hope the advancement of eBooks will fix, even if it is a tangential part.

The current custodians of ebooks — Amazon, Google and the publishers — have agreed to cripple the liquidity of ebooks by preventing readers from cut-and-pasting text easily, or to copy large sections of a book, or to otherwise seriously manipulate the text. But eventually the text of ebooks will be liberated, and the true nature of books will blossom. We will find out that books never really wanted to be telephone directories, or hardware catalogs, or gargantuan lists. These are jobs that websites are much superior at — all that updating and searching — tasks that paper is not suited for. What books have always wanted was to be annotated, marked up, underlined, dog-eared, summarized, cross-referenced, hyperlinked, shared, and talked-to. Being digital allows them to do all that and more.

I don’t think he is crazy. It’s the nature of the transition for the people who held all the power to try to adapt technology to the same limitations that they once had but eventually the old powers, or some new power, will figure out how the market works adapt to it. Hopefully anyway.

But the last topic of the article I want to bring up is introduced in the above paragraph. The idea of a  networked book. There are paragraphs devoted to this concept in the article and I both like and dislike the idea. I do like the idea of a book forming its own metadata as it is read, shared, discussed, and copied. I don’t think it will be as beautiful or seamless as Kelly is describing. He talks about books that continue evolving, being edited not just by the author but by the meta content that is created for it. You can see a proto-example in theweb series of novels Shadowunit. Movies and television already regularly make use of the web to try to create this content, to create a following around a show, so this idea isn’t new or alien. I think, however, at this point, we will have birthed a new media that is very different from the kind of stories told in books today. I don’t think that is a bad thing, but it’ll be a transbook media.

And I look forward to reading it.

Anyway if you’ve liked some of this discussion, read the original article. There are more neat ideas about where books are headed in here.

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What Books Will Become (Part 1 of 2)

by on May.08, 2011, under Articles, Books, Computers, Design & Development, Gaming, Information Technology, Internet, Roleplaying Games, Science, Technology, Video Games, Videos, Visual Media, Writing

Readers might remember I wrote an article awhile back about the evolution of how stories are told. It discussed the current transition we find our media undergoing, between analogue and digital. I stopped short, in that article, of discussing where it could possibly lead and left that theorizing to the reader.

Recently I came across this article, which takes an even more in-depth look at the possibilities of where books could go.

What Books Will Become by Kevin Kelly [KK.org/TheTechnium]

That is a long article and I’m sure enthusiasts, such as myself, likely read it all. For those of you not interested in reading the entire thing, here are some interesting points I’d like to point out and discuss. (continue reading…)

Comments Off on What Books Will Become (Part 1 of 2) :, , , , , more...

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