EmacsConf2021: Emacs as design pattern learning

I will be giving a talk at this year’s EmacsConf2021. The talk (addendum: with a video at the previous link) is an indirect exercise in considering the new wave of programming that is upon us.

We know that in AI, state-of-the-art R&D is trained on different language sets – like human language – and then tested to see whether these models can translate to different models. E.g. how language models can be extended to biology.

The scale of the contextual change that could be ushered in through the results of such research confirms to me the need to establish an explicit and extensible systems-/design-theory approach in both teaching and learning. I try to make the importance of a design pattern learning approach clear in my talk. But I also try to reach out to my colleagues to show how Emacs is the best tool for this.

My talk emphasizes the importance of Emacs’ free core. While I first thought this was of elementary significance, it turns out that it needs to be stated explicitly in more advanced contexts, which I do philosophically. French philosopher Bernard Stiegler warns that that we don’t make it our job to produce digital therapy through non-toxic social and artificial tools and organization. At the moment, we have a choice – we can cultivate general computing, for example. But we may look back on this age one day and be shocked by how much freedom we had – and went on to squander.

Emacs at once teaches us design pattern learning and models it, and stands as a tool for further free design pattern learning extensibility. This point is not new. For example, it was covered again this week in irreal’s post on Why Emacs.

Disclaimer about the talk: it should be noted that I am learning to code in public, defended as a practice here.

My conference video was created through hacking through what turned out to be bug #1231 in Kdenlive, and I am only a consciously incompetent programmer. The experience only confirmed the view of my talk: I hope to see you at EmacsConf2021, and I hope to be answering any questions/comments!

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