Of course it is hard­er to think about ideas than to bring a pro­gram­ming lan­guage into a class­room.

mean­while, at code.org

Fetishis­ing pro­gram­ming won’t get us any­where. (And indeed, it is strik­ing will.i.am has the most sen­si­ble quote of them all.)

In the era of the iPhone, Face­book, and Twit­ter, we’ve become enam­ored of ideas that spread as effort­less­ly as ether. We want fric­tion­less, “turnkey” solu­tions to the major dif­fi­cul­ties of the world—hunger, dis­ease, pover­ty. We pre­fer instruc­tion­al videos to teach­ers, drones to troops, incen­tives to insti­tu­tions. Peo­ple and insti­tu­tions can feel messy and anachro­nis­tic. They intro­duce, as the engi­neers put it, uncon­trolled vari­abil­i­ty.
I think my favourite aspect of it, though, is that at times, watch­ing the bots play togeth­er is a lit­tle like mag­ic. The first time I saw them talk to each oth­er, cov­er each oth­er whilst reload­ing, help each oth­er up after a Boomer attacked, I felt a lit­tle (only a lit­tle, mind) like a proud father. They’re dumb as a sack of ham­mers, but they look con­vinc­ing, and that was the real goal. It’s fun to watch them fight the horde amidst all my oth­er friends on Twit­ter.

Infovore » Twit 4 Dead: more sil­ly non­sense with Twit­ter bots.

Dig­ging up some old work by Tom after encoun­ter­ing a talk on Left 4 Dead’s AI.

Peo­ple have asked me many times to say what, exact­ly, is the point of this project. I’ve always had a fas­ci­na­tion with the ways that cre­ative peo­ple bal­ance inspi­ra­tion and dis­ci­pline in their work­ing lives. It’s easy to be ener­gized when you’re in the grip of a big idea. But what do you do when you don’t have any­thing to work with? Just stay in bed? Writ­ers have this fig­ured out: it’s amaz­ing how many of them have a rigid rou­tine. John Cheev­er, for instance, used to wake up every morn­ing in his New York City apart­ment, put on a jack­et and tie, kiss his wife good­bye, and take the ele­va­tor down to his apart­ment building’s base­ment, when he would sit at a small desk and write until quit­ting time, at which point he’d go back up. (When it was hot in the base­ment, he’d strip down to his under­wear to work.) The only way to expe­ri­ence this kind of dis­ci­pline is to sub­ject your­self to it. Every stu­dent who has tak­en this project had a moment where the work turned into a mind-numb­ing grind. And trust me: it won’t be the first time this hap­pens. The trick is to press on. For each new day (whether it’s Day 28, Day 61, even Day 100) brings with it the hope of inspi­ra­tion.

Five Years of 100 Days: Obser­va­to­ry: Design Observ­er

Sore­ly tempt­ed to take this project on myself. Tick­les my masochism pick­le.