If not, if the past is immutable, for us
now, the future is in our making.
Join me in forging a new digital future.
1. Leighton, D. Mynydd Du and Fforest
Fawr: Evolution of an Upland Landscape
in South Wales. Royal Commission on
the Ancient & Historical Monuments of
Wales. ISBN: 1871184126. 1998.
2. Wellness Centres. ARCH, A Regional
Collaboration for Health; http://www.
3. Deep Digitality; http://alandix.com/
4. Acme Corporation. Wikipedia; https://
Alan Dix is director of the Computational
Foundry at Swansea University. An author of
a major textbooks on HCI, he has worked in
diverse areas of HCI from formal methods to
rural development. A new book, TouchIT, and
an Interaction Design Foundation course on
creativity will be out later this year.
of market capitalism. The cost of raw
materials and consumer goods is an
indicator of the availability, demand,
and worth to individuals of different
products. This then allows industry
to match itself to the market without
centralized control. However, money
is a lossy information conduit; the
very fungibility of coinage, which
is essential for the transfer of value,
means that it gives knowledge only in
the aggregate. Centralized logistics
are an accident of information
paucity—only in the lumpen can the
depleted knowledge of supply and
demand be matched.
With colleagues at Cardiff School
of Art and Design, I have been
considering how consumer goods
and fashion could be reimagined
for a digital era, using information
technology to break this legacy
of centralized logistics: allowing
local–local connections as well as
global ones, creating new roles for
digital artisans, and refilling the
gaping hole of semi-skilled and skilled
blue-collar employment, which is
driving the cataclysmic political
changes that rage about us [ 3].
My fingers close again on the
wand, its surface smoothed by aeons
of past Abracadabra columnists—
ebony or blackened ivory? Too old to
tell. There were once four letters on
its surface, the last now worn thin,
so only the inscriptions A, C, and M
remain [ 4].
With one word, abracadabra,
one sweep of the wand, I will reverse
the ages of steel and silicon, let mass
computation precede mass production,
and see the patternings of life that
would instead emerge.
Is even a magic as powerful as ACM
enough to invert the flow of time?
DOI: 10.1145/3289427 COPYRIGHT HELD BY AUTHOR
INTERACTIONS.ACM.ORG JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2019 INTERACTIONS 21