fantics and manipulators

In the excerpt from Theodor H. Nelson's Computer Lib / Dream Machines, the focus is on designing new media that the computer will inspire. Nelson stresses the importance of fantics, which is "the art and science of getting ideas across, both emotionally and cognitively" (319). Instead of merely presenting information on a computer screen just to show the facts, we should format it in a way that would tie them together. Nelson gives the example of an array of student-control buttons that are arranged in a set format (324). However, this format restricts the user's interaction with the computer because it provides only one of many orientations that could better facilitate the student's task. We must recognize the existence of numerous layouts rather than limiting what we put on the screen with one possibility.

Nelson's concept of creating different fantic constructs applies to our use of hypermedia today. We link text, videos, and music together in a network that allows users to decide how they manage the information available. The method of obtaining information depends on the individual because one method of browsing through the resources may not work for another user. I do not believe it is possible to represent "the true content and structure of human thought" through fantics (326). We have found ways to link information together to filter unwanted material, but it would be too complex to create a system that could represent human thought. This notion of developing a Fantic system that imitates the human mind is similar to Turing's question of whether a computer can fool a person into believing it is human. The difference is that Nelson focuses on the design of a system, while Turing considers the computer itself. Creating Nelson's concept of a Fantic system would be comparable to looking into another human being's mind. For Turing, the ideal computing machine could process information like a "real mind" (61). It is necessary to have characteristics of both in a computer for it to function as it does. Our mind is constantly filled with an abundance of information, so we are accustomed to variety. We like to make choices. Thus, we cannot package information in shrink-wrap and post it on the Web. No, we must encourage mobility through hypermedia, through webbing of information.

Nelson also proposes that "many are manipulators" of media (306). This statement reminded me of "Constituents of a Theory of the Media," in which Enzensberger recognizes the power of media, and the need of direct social control to counter the manipulation of media (265). To him, censorship is futile. The productive masses need to interact with the media to gain control of the industry; otherwise, capitalists will continue to exploit the masses by influencing the people's consumption of material goods. In a sense, I agree with Enzensberger. The media does tell us what to buy and like, but I do not think we need to get rid of capitalism to control it. The popularity of online video-streaming sites such as YouTube offers the masses the chance to produce their own videos for others to view. Thus, the people produce and distribute the media. I think that the advancement of new media gives us the opportunity to become producers if we wish. We can simply produce some form of digital media and post it. Now, it is so easy to introduce yourself to the digital media world.