Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Banapana is Back

Banapana is Back

On January 13, 2005, I first posted to my brand new blog, Banapana, Our Minds on Media. I kept it running, mostly with a post a week until March 30, 2013. Then, I was done. Blogging had turned into Twittering. People were moving away from the blogosphere to other platforms and the site no longer felt relevant to me. But the concept of “Our Minds on Media” never got too far from my thinking.

On January 25, 2005, I tried to coin the term LUI or Language User Interface. Nobody really cared. We were dealing with some pretty dumb chatbots and I was thinking about A.I. in the Unix command line. In fact, in 2005, I would have hesitated to call anything A.I., but rather it was all ML (machine learning) to me.

Now, in 2023, A.I. has become vogue like never before with ChatGPT, Bard, Orca, Pi, etc. In fact, the Media has retroactively—wait, what is the comic book term for this? Retcon!—The Media has retconned machine learning algorithms, like your email spam filter, as A.I. Since the aforementioned A.I. have arrived, I feel like I was pretty correct about the idea of the LUI. And I feel like I have been correct about other matters regarding how media is changing our thinking.

So, ten years after Banapana closed up shop, I think it’s time to re-open. It’s not just what’s going on with AI1. There are other significant developments occurring in which media is affecting our cognition that merit a closer look. iPhones being dopamine delivery systems that rob people of money, for instance.

I feel the need, more than ever, to remind people of what Marshall McLuhan espoused in his 1964 masterwork “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man“—media are just extensions of a human’s abilities and sense. We are arriving at two interesting points simultaneously. One, there are a hell of a lot more senses than five. Most neurologists will argue that there are more like 30-35 senses. We’re just beginning to understand human thinking. If video is an extension of vision, then what is the extension of Proprioception? Two, we’re starting to simulate all of those senses with a new type of intelligence—one that won’t think and feel like we do. Things are getting weird and that’s what Banapana is to me. It’s time to start it back up.

I’ve started a Substack (to be a thoroughly modern writer) and I’ll be posting more here on Medium. The old WordPress version of Banapana is available and I’ll keep posting there until I convert it to a Sveltekit blog before the end of the year! See you there.

  1. If everyone on Earth is going to use sans-serif fonts, can we all agree to use A.I. as opposed to AI, because in a sans-serif font it just looks like Al. I mean, to quote Paul Simon, “I can call you Betty and Betty when you call me, you can call me Al.” 

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