Long term carreer goals (Pleasant little talk at U of T)

The Knowledge Media Design Institute is the group that Suzanne and others at the Philosophy department suggested as a good match for my continuing studies. Their lecture series happened to show up on the Toronto Philosophy discussion board, so off I trundled to check out the program.

The talk was by Rodney Hoinkes and Stacey Spiegel, they do collaborative environments (think our Holodesk product with 8 more years of technological advancements in the hardware and a resulting much larger scale). Interestingly, they apparently had an Open Source academia discussion earlier in the day (apparently not so much Open Source software, as a particular package for creating open peer-reviewed journals).

My take on Stacey's second "controversial" statement from the talk, namely that "parallel worlds" are being "discovered", rather than created is that it's not particularly controversial. From Kant we see that our measure of the universe is the way in which we perceive the universe, from Heidegger and the like we see that it is our social and cultural framework which modifies and informs our understanding of the world.

As such, each time we create a new space (virtual or real) we are defining a new environment in which to interact, but in the end it is an environment in which we interact and it is we who are the primary determinant. If all search is search for the self (including the social self), then any new opportunity for expression is part of our search for ourselves, our search for meaning. We "discover" the rules within the parallel environment because the rules are expressions of who we are.

Sitting in front of me was Rob Harvie. Don't know what it is the last two days, I'm seeing people and just totally failing to recognise them (first Rainee yesterday, then Rob today). Rob is one of Jason Yates friends, he arranged to have me come to UofT to present my Holodesk PIM project back in 1998 or so. I'm guessing my inability to recognise faces has something to do with the rather large sleep deficit under which I'm labouring this week.

Rob introduced me to Gale Moore (the director of the KMDI) and John Danahy (moderator of the talk, member of KMDI). Prof. Moore is a bit busy for the next few weeks, but I'll try getting in to talk to her around the end of the month. Apparently they have lots of lecture series available in their archives that are not getting many hits, go explore peoples.

Had a good talk with Professor Danahy. I'm afraid I may have bored him a little going on about my thesis while he was trying to make a point, but he did offer to talk and/or review material if I drop into his office some time. I know, I know, Architecture/Landscape Design profs are too busy to be reviewing hundred-page theses, but maybe I'll try taking in a chapter or two to get feedback on it.


  1. harv

    harv on 03/10/2006 9:44 a.m. #

    I'm not all _that_ apalled that you did't recognize the back of my head....<br />
    <br />
    Great to see you again.<br />
    <br />

  2. Tim

    Tim on 03/11/2006 7:23 a.m. #

    For some reason (I suppose the rapid-fire references to Kant and Heidegger) this post makes me wonder if you think philosophy is a generally forward progression through history of though, similar to other "technology"... <br />
    <br />
    But of course such a ridiculous question would be especially ridiculous for me to ask in a weblog comment. Well, at least especially ridiculous, if i really was interested in the answer (as I don't get around here all that often these days... oh well).<br />
    <br />
    I liked how you put "discovered" in quotes. I hope you like how I did the same for technology. (-:<br />
    <br />

  3. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 03/11/2006 12:06 p.m. #

    Hi Rob, Hi Tim.<br />
    <br />
    Regarding the relentless march of philosophy: well if you don't want to know, why inflict my response on everyone else ;) . No, I see philosophy as a conversation or debate, it doesn't always go forward, but the best philosophical texts are those which take the entirety of the field into account and provide some new insight into the nature of the universe.<br />
    <br />
    The quotes were direct quotes from Stacey Spiegel's part of the presentation :) . Sorry if they sounded like me being a pompous academic blowhard... you know how much I love to sound like a pompous academic blowhard :) .

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