Inventing on Principle

This is a fantastic lecture I ran into earlier today about the effects of ideas on the world we live. This is one of the best lectures I have ever seen and although the full lecture is about 50 minutes long it is absolutely worth it. The lecture starts by exploring new and revolutionary ways of interacting with code and computers in general and toward the end of the lecture dives into ethics and the idea of social change through invention and through ideas. Although it doesn’t directly relate to the things we are discussing in class  it does go into several important things like “living by a principle” and the idea that “ethic rights and wrongs are different at different points in time” specifically in regarding things like women rights and mode based software. In my opinion  this way of viewing code, and in general, this way of viewing ideas is absolutely revolutionary and in many ways a large step toward a day when humans and computers can interact seamlessly and a time when any good idea can become a reality.

Additionally, for anyone interested this is an IDE built on top of the principles of this lecture and directly relates to the post on Kickstarter earlier in the semester.

2 Responses to Inventing on Principle

  1. tyler.hugenberg

    I can honestly say I watched that entire video and it was very enlightening. I was particularly intrigued when he talked about people who had solved problems that nobody else even knew existed. The problem was the status quo. I believe this idea ties very strongly to this ethics course. It seems to me that the study of ethics is an attempt to look beyond the current way of things and ask ourselves and each other what seems right. An important, possibly overlooked, factor in this is how facts and opinions are completely mixed. I believe it is necessary to share not just the ‘facts’ which are apparently undisputed, but the opinions which could lead in a completely undiscovered direction.

    Possibly a little more off topic: I agree very strongly with what the speaker said about our experiences shaping how we identify ourselves. Although he seems to contradict himself a little when he talks about dedicating yourself to a principle, and then goes on to talk about having many varying experiences and basically not being a one trick pony. I guess your principle could span various fields but I digress.

    I would also like to mention that the animation app featured in the video was nothing short of amazing. I spend quite a bit of time doing mobile development and I was really impressed with the demo. Also, the light table IDE you linked looks very slick and like an almost total ripoff of the example in the video.

  2. I just got around to watching the video. There is a lot of interesting stuff in there, and I think everyone in the class should watch it. Maybe we can spend a session talking about it.

    There is one point jessekelly makes that I cannot ignore. He says Victor makes a point that, “rights and wrongs are different at different points in time.” If this is supposed to be an endorsement of cultural relativism, I do not think Victor makes that point at all. In fact, I think he is committed to thinking it is false. Remember that one of Victor’s big ideas about personal principles was that people discover principles when they discover an “unacknowledged wrong”. The very idea of an unacknowledged wrong suggests that there are wrongs that are independent of how people are currently making moral evaluations. This is an anti-relativist idea. Remember his main examples of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Larry Tesler were examples of people who noticed that something everyone accepted was actually very wrong. It is not that there were new wrongs when Stanton and Tesler discovered them. Rather, they discovered things that were already wrong to begin with.

    This is related to a fundamental problem with cultural relativism: It does not allow for moral progress. If morality is set by what people believe at a particular point in time, it is impossible for someone to discover some unacknowledged wrong. If a person is going against popular belief by saying something is wrong, then that person is incorrect–at least according to cultural relativism.

    But maybe I am reading too much into jessekelly’s commentary.

    At any rate, it is a very good video for this course. I look forward to hearing what others think.