Digital Naturalness is
an inquiry space, a practice mat, a design process, a telos for digital products, and a community for collective innovation.
Our mission is
to integrate deep, health-inducing patterns of nature into digital technology to generate greater wellness, beauty, and aliveness for humanity and establish a mutually beneficial relationship between nature and technology.
Our Digital Future
We are usually being told how digital technology will change and impact us in the future. However, most of us are not asking ourselves what we want that technology to become.
Introduction to Digital Naturalness
In this post we outline the foundations of a “Digital Naturalness” approach to building digital technologies. It reflects the range of technical issues, methodological approaches, and philosophical questions we have so far considered and is meant to serve as an evolving guide for future applications.
In this post we give broad visions of alternative futures to lay the foundation for the importance of asking digital naturalness-type questions now, at an apparent inflection point in the history of the human species.
We will soon launch a series of small conversations with mentors, researchers, designers, and technologists interested in Digital Naturalness. Those conversations will be recorded and posted here on the site. This is our first effort to begin building research and practice communities dedicated to our core inquiries.
A Vision from Christopher Alexander
"My comment on this? Please forgive me, I'm going to be very direct and blunt for a horrible second. It could be thought that the technical way in which you currently look at programming is almost as if you were willing to be "guns for hire." In other words, you are the technicians. You know how to make the programs work. "Tell us what to do daddy, and we'll do it." That is the worm in the apple.
What I am proposing here is something a little bit different from that. It is a view of programming as the natural genetic infrastructure of a living world which you/we are capable of creating, managing, making available, and which could then have the result that a living structure in our towns, houses, work places, cities, becomes an attainable thing. That would be remarkable. It would turn the world around, and make living structure the norm once again, throughout society, and make the world worth living in again.
This is an extraordinary vision of the future, in which computers play a fundamental role in making the world—and above all the built structure of the world—alive, humane, ecologically profound, and with a deep living structure. I realize that you may be surprised by my conclusion. This is not what I am, technically, supposed to have been talking about to you. Or you may say, Well, great idea, but we're not interested. I hope that is not your reaction. I hope that all of you, as members of a great profession of the future, will decide to help me, and to help yourselves, by taking part in this enormous world-wide effort. I do think you are capable of it. And I do not think any other professional body has quite the ability, or the natural opportunity for influence, to do this job as it must be done.
I've enjoyed talking to you very much. Thank you for listening to me and I would be most keen to listen to your ideas on these topics."
— Professor Christopher Alexander
San Jose, California, 1996