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Deep Digitality, and Digital Thinking

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Slides or talk given at Universities of Limerick and Leicester in January 2020.

more info at:
https://alandix.com/deepdigitality/
https://alandix.com/digitalthinking/

In an ACM Interactions column and an Irish HCI keynote I have explored Deep Digitality, an approach to the radical re-imagination of large scale systems of society: manufacturing, healthcare, government and healthcare. Deep Digitality takes the counter-factual premise asking what these systems would be like of digital technology had preceded the industrial revolution, the Medicis or even Hippocrates. Paradoxically, in some of these digital-first scenarios, digital technology is sparse and yet there is clearly a digital mindset at play. It is the kind of thinking that underlies some of the more radical digital apps and products, and builds on the assumptions of a world where computation and sensing are cheap, communication and information are pervasive, and digital fabrication is mainstream. This digital thinking connects with other 'thinkings' (computational, design, management, systems) and but appears distinct – less focused on decomposition and engineering than computational thinking, but more principle rather than process driven than design thinking. I have been trying to distill some of the defining features and heuristic principles of Digital Thinking and this talk captures some of this nascent work in progress.

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Deep Digitality, and Digital Thinking

  1. 1. Alan Dix http://alandix.com/deepdigitality/ @alanjohndix @CompFoundry Deep Digitality and Digital Thinking
  2. 2. deep digitality radical re-imagining everything digital thinking patterns and turns for design
  3. 3. 10011 11000 11011 10111 10011 01110 01011 11111 01001 01001 11110 00001 01011 11100 11100 11100 11000 00001 10000 00101 11001 11011 01110 01000 00110 10000 01000 01000 00100 01001 11011 01011 11110 01110 10001 00111 00100 10100 01111 11000 01101 10001 10101 00001 00011 10100 00110 00001 10001 11010 01010 10010 01110 11001 11111 10000 10110 00101 01001 11101 00100 11110 11011 11111 00000 01101 00011 10000 01000 10110 11010 11011 11110 00110 00001 00111 11110 00000 01100 01000 01101 11100 00100 10010 10000 10000 00001 10000 00000 01011 00000 11101 01100 10010 11101 00100 00001 11100 deep digitality look to the hills the nature of money radical imagining
  4. 4. The drainage pattern is thus superimposed and, apart from the major structural disturbances of the Neath and Tawe, the river system does not relate to the underlying geology. D. Leighton (1998) Mynydd Du and Fforest Fawr: Evolution of an Upland Landscape in South Wales
  5. 5. the digital geology is shifting beneath our feet …but our social and industrial topography remains rooted in the physical and organisational constraints of the 19th century
  6. 6. abracadabra what if? silicon revolution before the steel revolution? digital technology before the Medicis
  7. 7. money made the world go round
  8. 8. changing role of money not just bitcoin! two roles of money: value information
  9. 9. diversity density kitchen cupboard high diversity density
  10. 10. diversity density supermarket shelf lower diversity density
  11. 11. traditional markets producer factory warehouse lorry supermarket consumer diversity density information volume
  12. 12. internet market producer factory warehouse lorry supermarket consumer information volume
  13. 13. radical reimaginings
  14. 14. health medical vs care-giving – siloed professions why? intrinsic skills and abilities accidental: physical constraints of the hospital building knowledge and information
  15. 15. shoes of different sizes https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shoes,_pair_(black)_(AM_1978.53-2).jpg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Many_Victoria_Shoe_Boxes.jpg
  16. 16. the printed washing machine https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Washing_Machine_Beko.jpg photos: Jacqui Bennett
  17. 17. fashion http://nattyjanesews.blogspot.com/2012/02/nattyjanes-dress-variation-part-1.html https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sewing_department_in_Hungary.jpg
  18. 18. 10011 11000 11011 10111 10011 01110 01011 11111 01001 01001 11110 00001 01011 11100 11100 11100 11000 00001 10000 00101 11001 11011 01110 01000 00110 10000 01000 01000 00100 01001 11011 01011 11110 01110 10001 00111 00100 10100 01111 11000 01101 10001 10101 00001 00011 10100 00110 00001 10001 11010 01010 10010 01110 11001 11111 10000 10110 00101 01001 11101 00100 11110 11011 11111 00000 01101 00011 10000 01000 10110 11010 11011 11110 00110 00001 00111 11110 00000 01100 01000 01101 11100 00100 10010 10000 10000 00001 10000 00000 01011 00000 11101 01100 10010 11101 00100 00001 11100 digital thinking digital patterns of mind even for the non-digital designs
  19. 19. fashion http://nattyjanesews.blogspot.com/2012/02/nattyjanes-dress-variation-part-1.html https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sewing_department_in_Hungary.jpg
  20. 20. ways of thinking computational thinking –decomposition, etc. design thinking –method and process systems thinking –big picture management thinking –anyone’s guess!
  21. 21. … just first steps https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marguerite_Gérard_-_The_first_steps.jpg
  22. 22. enablers of digital thinking • cheap computation and sensing • ubiquitous communication • growth of digital fabrication • changing role of money
  23. 23. facets of digital thinking Human – how existing human processes and systems might radically change or new ones emerge. • breaking physical constraints of communication, production and transport Engineering – how we design physical systems differently, given the nature of digital technology • trading engineering precision for computational power finding better problems solving problems better
  24. 24. human aspects https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ford_assembly_line_-_1913.jpg
  25. 25. Human – finding better problems • Individual vs. uniform mass production • Distributed vs. centralised • Open monitored processes • Deconstructing knowledge, behaviour and experience
  26. 26. Human – finding better problems • Individual vs. uniform mass production – e.g. fashion and washing machine case studies – enabled by communication, digital fabrication • Distributed vs. centralised • Open monitored processes • Deconstructing knowledge, behaviour and experience
  27. 27. Human – finding better problems • Individual vs. uniform mass production • Distributed vs. centralised – e.g. washing machine case study – enabled by communication, digital fabrication, role of money • Open monitored processes • Deconstructing knowledge, behaviour and experience
  28. 28. Human – finding better problems • Individual vs. uniform mass production • Distributed vs. centralised • Open monitored processes – e.g. digital archives, drug testing policy – enabled by communication, computation • Deconstructing knowledge, behaviour and experience
  29. 29. Human – finding better problems • Individual vs. uniform mass production • Distributed vs. centralised • Open monitored processes • Deconstructing knowledge, behaviour and experience – e.g. health – just in time knowledge for paramedics – enabled by communication, computation
  30. 30. engineering aspects https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rocket_(Smiles).jpg
  31. 31. Engineering – solving problems better • Commoditising complexity • Control vs. measurement • Accuracy vs. computation • Best vs. good enough • Physical–digital ecologies
  32. 32. Engineering – solving problems better • Commoditising complexity – e.g. firefly • Control vs. measurement • Accuracy vs. computation • Best vs. good enough • Physical–digital ecologies
  33. 33. Engineering – solving problems better • Commoditising complexity • Control vs. measurement – e.g. universal governor, Euro fighter, Segway, autonomous cars • Accuracy vs. computation • Best vs. good enough • Physical–digital ecologies By Globbet - Own work by uploader, with permission from the Mill Meece Pumping Station Preservation Trust, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7421535 Two tourists on a Segway (photo Spinnick597, Wikipedia) : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FlorenceSegwayTour.jpg
  34. 34. Engineering – solving problems better • Commoditising complexity • Control vs. measurement • Accuracy vs. computation – e.g. FireFly, submarine tracking • Best vs. good enough • Physical–digital ecologies https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpio_ROV#/media/File:US_Navy_040426-N-7949W- 007_Deep_Submergence_Unit_(DSU)_Unmanned_Vehicle_Detachment_(UMA_Det)_personnel_guide_the_Super_Scorpio _remote_operated_vehicle_(ROV)_to_a_safe_recovery.jpg
  35. 35. Engineering – solving problems better • Commoditising complexity • Control vs. measurement • Accuracy vs. computation • Best vs. good enough – ACID vs. noSQL, satisficing • Physical–digital ecologies
  36. 36. Engineering – solving problems better • Commoditising complexity • Control vs. measurement • Accuracy vs. computation • Best vs. good enough • Physical–digital ecologies – e.g. mobile learning, books
  37. 37. in summary deep digitality – money is different – digital geology has shifted – radical transformation is possible digital thinking – breaking constraints – not just for digital technology
  38. 38. what will happen what could happen you and me

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