Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Magic: I love good magic acts, especially close-up sleight-of-hand. An equivalent in the larger scale is what happens on stage these days in a modern Broadway theatrical event. A piece called Digital Magic on Broadway provides a fascinating backstage view of the role machine intelligence plays in mounting a production these days, how much is used to tell a story.

Magic plays such an important role in communication. The very thing that makes movies possible is an illusion - still images passing before the eye at a speed that simulates motion. But it's a convention we have come to accept. We have yet to invent the magic that will make the online medium coalesce into its own unique experience. For some reason we accept movies and television with little question - it works, and we sit back and make decisions about which to watch, rather than how to watch.

With a computer-driven medium however, we are still hung up on memory and disk space and myriad other details that create whatever message appears on the screen - but we spend so much time on those details that we lose track of the magic created, the message itself.

Someone out there is about to discover and create that magic - we will see show business delivered via a medium where machine intelligence - decision-making and raw illusion-making power - make the critical distinction from other media magic experiences. AOL and others are about to re-discover "story-telling" on the Web - so the exploration process may begin again. Original Programming Smiles on Dot-Coms Again

Meanwhile, remember that - aside from games - we are currently spending our time mostly watching electronically rendered printed pages, with the occasional animated bit and occasional audio. All this technology must have within it the ability to create something far more exciting than that!