Visual Languages

Doyle Saylor djsaylor at
Thu Sep 2 19:01:13 MDT 1999

Greetings Comrades,
    John Ky started musing about an area that interests me a great deal.  I
don't know to what specifically John referes to when he writes;

If we only had more digestable forms of intellectual material than
prose.  Has anyone heard of visual languages?  They are suppose
to be able to give the reader a very quick run through all the issues
of a given topic in minimal time.  Arguments and counter arguments
from past scholars are arranged in a map to make navigation as
simple as following arrows around the wall sized page.

The map makes it possible for a reader to do things such as pick
out who had the last word in a particular thread of debate and find
references to useful texts he/she would never have found.

Easy to read?


But there are some interesting directions in using pictures computationally.
 For example, in the field to carry video game glasses so that a visual
image can
be projected on the landscape.  Wearable computing sites at MIT talk about
that.  When one projects upon the world images then something crops up about
the image we project upon the world ie. does it  cover what we look at?  In
other words does the image act a little like a hallucination.  We need to
see through the media to the world otherwise having something that covers up
a big part of the landscape
is something like being blinded.

Another part of what John is musing about is automating collecting the
topics of arguments and counter arguments.  John wistfully talks about the
weeks and months to put together something so it could be looked at as a
whole to get the larger picture of something.  But to work well, something
like that can't be done by hand, it has to be automated.  John's point is a
sophisticated vision of what search engines do on the internet.  Why not
collect threads and display them in maps?  What a good way to think of
terrain of verbal conflict!
Doyle Saylor

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