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Formative Technologies

You know the concept of 'Formative Years'? This is the same, except without the years bit
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We as people place a lot of stock in the notion of 'formative years' as though it is something to be proud of and placed on a pedestal - the rapid random fanout of crippling thwarted experiences, burned into the initial experiential profile to which all further overlays are compared, thus adding up to a persons 'formative years'.

Quite apart from the possibility of 'hey, why not just forget those and have some more formative years, whenever you like?', which would be the non-stupid approach to things like this, I think there are some other 'signatures' or 'profiles' of random idiocy that happened to you that have burned themselves into fixed and forevermore immutable approaches.

This idea is the idea of Formative Technologies. I wasn't sure whether to call it that, or Formative Informations, or Formative Formats, or something, but this is what I've written first, so it can't be changed now, or it won't be formative won't it.

Formative Technologies as a theory and a paradigm and also a bicycle on Tuesdays, is the notion that a persons first exposure to certain technologies immutably and forevermore sets in concrete, as if it were set in stone, not only an approach to all future technologies but a personal reflective gauge as to how a person and technology interact. That's it.

A person might decide early on that they're 'not technical' or 'not good with technology' because of their early formative experiences. Another person might consider them selves technical, but because of their first experiences, don't move on to different paradigms - someone who grew up tinkering with valves might disparagingly disparage the modern VLSI world. Another person might have learned programming on BASIC computers in the 80s and that approach fixed their understanding, so they don't 'get' functional programming nowadays, or even CSS.

Now, this doesn't imply that a] a person can't learn more and further, and also it doesn't disimply that a] a person who might have learned machine code on a PDP-8 therefore understands enough broad principles to see every form of programming in simpler and more fundamental and 'no big deal' than most people today will struggle to do with their barrage of frameworks and monads and beards.

So, formative technologies. I suppose we all have them, and what I'm saying is that we should be embarrassed by them, not drag them out after a few drinks every bloody time as if this inability to change or reassess is something to be proud of.

Ian Tindale, Feb 25 2017


       I'm amenable to the idea that all years are formative years because of the idea of lifelong learning and not getting trapped. If that's true, what if all technology is formative? But I do have a problem understanding most things which happened in IT after 1985.   

       However, whereas we shouldn't get bogged down in the past, how would you distinguish between the good old days and the current golden age?
nineteenthly, Feb 25 2017

       I suspect the way to quantify formative technologies is to do with how many units of alcohol before it gets dragged out. If it isn't a personal formative technology, if it is what is currently being zeitgeisted about, if it is what is being taught on youtube (or even those quaint archaic relics - schools colleges and universities), if it is what job adverts are all braying out for, it is current and surfaced to the point that it is on the very top of everyone's mindset at the present time. If after several beers I start talking about FORTH, then that is a formative technology, for me.
Ian Tindale, Feb 25 2017

       What about people who don't drink alcohol? I hardly do. Maybe if you hit me on the head the requisite number of times?   

       FORTH is a kind of puzzle where I try to whittle down the vocabulary to a minimum. I suspect it's actually only about three words or fewer, but it's very like Jenga, and liking Jenga or not doesn't reveal one's age.
nineteenthly, Feb 25 2017

       What I meant was that for me, FORTH is the thing I learned first, therefore everything else is compared to that - not as good as FORTH because of, not as easy as FORTH because of, not as elegant, etc, and I blame not understanding everything else on the fact that they're not FORTH. However, it could, with another person, be another thing. Whatever it is, paints the frame which doors around everything to come.
Ian Tindale, Feb 25 2017

       No actually, you're just right. Nothing is as good as FORTH. You should probably seek input from someone younger.
nineteenthly, Feb 25 2017

       So, the questions are:   

       (a) Given that people's views are shaped by the first technology they get along with, and given that they may be able to identify those technologies, what do they do about it?   

       (b) GOTO (a)
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 25 2017

       The thing to do about it is the thing we must or should do when we consider our formative years. Destroy the impact they have on us. Our formative years are nothing to cherish, they must be diminished, muted or at least disempowered. Similarly, formative technologies must be reduced in impact, laughed at in importance, and kept quiet about as a random mistake. FORTH is fuck all use today, for me, and similarly with most people's first exposure to a technology - useless as a transferrable experience, but more so because of the heightened impact of it being, of course, 'formative'.
Ian Tindale, Feb 25 2017

       And this differs from a "let's all" by...
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 25 2017

       By being an idea. It is a classification, or a category, of human experiential experience, or human developmental psychology stuff thing whatsit. Oddly, there's almost no major or minor categories in the hb for this sort of thing.
Ian Tindale, Feb 25 2017

       I believe that if you are smart enough, eventhing can be framed by everything else. A clever person could use FORTH in a clever way to explain the newer language ideas. But only people with early FOURTH formating would get the complex analogy.
wjt, Feb 25 2017

       Indeed, but most days, being smart enough is too much bother, and other people don't match the exercise, leaving a gap.   

       This is all about a state of mind, one that would be more helpful if it wasn't allowed to dominate or to have the impact it naturally has. The formative impressions of technology stay static, but the technologies and techniques move on.   

       Or more accurately, the package that the formative technologies are wrapped in when they are first presented to a person are destined to get horrifically dated soon after. Although the nuts and bolts inside might bear only some fundamental structural correspondences to what is going on today, the packaging and presentation is nothing like the current way of perceiving these things. Yet it was that older Bakelite and paintwork and box that made the big deep formative impression.
Ian Tindale, Feb 26 2017

       Formative constructs, therefore, are also a method of societal stratification. Those that can keep updating or adapt their formative experiences may be seen as younger or better but speed of change eventually passes us all in the end. In a perfect world everyone should be celebrated for their formative idiosyncratic differences, as wonder of human nature, but there's no money in it   

       Maybe in the future, drugs, stem cells or magnetic field technologies will allow a formative clean slate so the virgin formative experiences can be renewed all over again.
wjt, Mar 01 2017

       My suggestion is do what I did last year - trip up and crash head first directly into the ice at high speed on an ice skating rink. Or, do what I did this year - fall out of the attic. Both activities really do change the way you think, revealing a lot more clarity and whatever that other stuff is.
Ian Tindale, Mar 01 2017

       Problem with that method, [Ian], is that it works for the young but the older we get the less we have to break, for the change.
wjt, Mar 05 2017


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