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Clarifying Compassion

When we talk about compassionate digital objects and this notion of compassion. It’s an objective form of the word. The idea that we can achieve an objective compassion by creating in conformity to nature. I’m not referring to nature in the sense of the trees and the wind and a soft stream. I’m referring to the ambient materials upon which all of existence is built upon, defined from, and functions through. Those materials exist at all scales. Think of gravity. Think of DNA. And this includes our creations, too. Language is an ambient material. So is color. Money. Smiles. The arrow is a great one. What a journey its had!

What is “creating in conformity?”
It’s not an act of mimicry or subservience. It’s about creation that is shaped by these materials. Not shaped to them. And like the water in a stream, we see it slowly influence its environment. Fragments of soil, slowly carved out over millennia.

But why?
It’s clear we have no idea what we’re doing. Perhaps we never have. But at the scale that we are now operating at, we are affecting billions of people every single day. Shaping their habits. Their self-identity. Their relationships. Their opinions and their financial stability. Not to mention the ecological implications of our ever expanding digital infrastructure.

We are simply incapable of designing to account for all possible scenarios. We cannot predict the emergent behaviors that will arise. Instead, we can design our digital objects in acknowledgment of this paradigm. With it, not against it. Encourage emergence instead of fearing it, or worse: ignoring it. Offer tools without assumptions. Create incomplete objects that have to be adapted by the individual to function.

Added by Alex Singh
Updated 11 days ago

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