"While certain strains of New Age mysticism seem to have embraced digital technology, for the most part the modern computer is a deeply secular invention. Still, the act of comprehending our infinite universe of data through the figureheads and symbolic gestures of the interface, the whole project of 'infinity imagined' this experience runs parallel to the metaphors and sense-making narratives of most organized religions," writes Steven Johnson in Interface Culture. The author is editor-in-chief and cofounder of Feed, the award-winning online cultural magazine.
Johnson, steering a course between techno-boosterism and techno-phobia, shows how interfaces (those symbols, graphics, and words on the screen) are a medium "as complex and vital as the novel or the cathedral or the cinema." Revealing his humanities background, Johnson writes cogently about bitmapping, the desktop, windows, links, text, and agents. He exposes the tyranny of image over text, the limitations of the desktop metaphor, and the potential chaos of intelligent agents.
Interface Culture will help you wrap your mind around our society's reliance upon information filters, the miraculous shape-shifting qualities of computers, the twists and turns in recent techno-history, the web as a way of seeing new relationships, and interfaces as the art form of the twenty-first century.