Just started George Dyson's Darwin Among the Machines.
We are brothers and sisters of our machines. Minds and tools have been sharpened against each other ever since a scavenger's stone fractured cleanly and the first cutting edge was held in a hunter's hand. The obsidian flake and silicon chip are struck by the light of the same campfire that has passed from hand to hand since the human mind began.
I like the symbiotic nature implied by minds and tools 'sharpening' each other.
I also came across this recent interview with superstar App Maker Loren Brichter where he underlines the idea of computers as 'mind tools' and invokes ol' Doug Engelbart in his use of the word 'augment'.
When you’re trying to make things “less terrible,” do you have any greater goals in mind that guide your decisions? Why do you do all this?
Oh yeah, but it’s so abstract that people will think I’m nuts. So for a goal, I’ll just say “build tools to make us more enlightened.” I mean “enlightened” in a Carl Sagan sense, where we are the universe trying to understand itself. And we’ve long hit the limit of what we can think with our naked brain, so we need to augment it in some way with mind tools. But the tools right now are so complicated that it takes all your mental energy just to try and “hold” them, so you have nothing left to actually do something interesting. Or at least they’re too complicated for me. I’m not that smart.
Personally, I’m tired of the trivial app stuff, and the App Store isn’t conducive to anything more interesting. I think the next big thing in software will happen outside of it.