The future of text is #markdown, but the future of #markdown isn’t standardization.
Markdown is great because it is built for graceful degradation, with the ultimate fallback system.

This makes it portable, resilient, and robust.
In the aftermath of the printing press, books became streamlined, simpler.

In a networked world, text drives toward being portable and fluid.
But just as cars were originally marketed as the ‘horseless carriage’—

The early days of the printing press saw attempts to make printed books look hand-lettered.
In the early days of the web, HTML was a human-readable format, intended to bridge the gap between humans and machines.

But just like ‘horseless carriages’ and ‘hand-lettered printed books’—

HTML was quickly adapted to mimic the exciting world of desktop publishing.
We spent the next twenty years trying to get HTML to support the same kind of features as 1990’s Microsoft Publisher.
This made HTML impossible to read for a normal human being.

HTML was now human-readable in name only.

Instead, it had become a programming language for the web.
Instead of normal humans writing HTML, as originally intended—HTML became the underlying, invisible substructure in which our content was stored.
Turning HTML into a programming language created a vacuum. If humans could not write directly in the web’s basic language, then they would have to rely on specialized tools.
Specialized HTML writing tools mean that humans can not fully access, control, or transport the products of their (writing) labors.
HTML became a programming language, which created a vacuum. #markdown filled that vacuum.
The genius of #markdown was in realizing that humans were already creating structure in plain-text documents.
Everything in plain text is legible to a human being. Everything is a character, nothing is a hidden state.
#markdown starts with the premise that everything is readable, writable, and legible to human beings—and affirms the ways we are already creating structure.
#markdown equips computers to understand the structures already built into human-created text.

Rather than forcing humans to use specialized tools, or concealing structure in hidden state, #markdown uses computers to amplify the structures humans have already created.
So what is the future of #markdown?
#markdown epitomizes the movement away from forcing humans into computer-shaped boxes.

#markdown epitomizes the fluidity and portability of content.

#markdown epitomizes recognizing the human meaning inherent in content, and using machine intelligence to amplify it.
So the future of #markdown is #AI.

Not codifying formats for humans to conform to, but increasingly using machine intelligence to discover, amplify, and accelerate human-created meaning.

1. Technology accelerates content, making it fluid.

2. Skeuomorphic Design (horseless carriage, hand-letter printing, HTML as document) is always a counter-move to this trend.

3. Medium ultimately gets subverted to Message. That starts with #markdown and leads to #AI.

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More from @micahtredding

Aug 27, 2018
“Should we really be spending money on X when Y is going on?”

This is a common argument against art, science, technology, infrastructure, exploration, charity, compassion, change, reform, and progress of all kinds.
This assumes that humanity is operating on a fixed budget, and that the obstacle to doing something good or desirable is every other good thing we might do.
This is like straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.

In reality, the primary obstacle to anything good or desirable is apathy and lack of vision.
Read 4 tweets
Aug 15, 2018
I have a lot of respect for anti-natalists. They are willing to say explicitly what many people implicitly believe.…
I think they are completely wrong.

But I don’t think they are *obviously* wrong. I think humanity is far too much of a mixed bag for that.
Society owes anti-natalists some kind of answer.

How are we going to make things better? What good can we do? Why should our species stick around?
Read 5 tweets
Aug 12, 2018
Everything that stands the test of time was at one time disruptive.
Every oldies station was built on young people’s music.
Every establishment was built by punks and hippies.
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Aug 4, 2018
We summited Mount Rainier!
Did you know that 40% of people who climb above 10,000 feet experience Acute Mountain Sickness?
I do now.
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Jul 21, 2018
People sometimes discount one-on-one “coffee” meetings. But I don’t know anything else that is as good at quickly determining personal alignment—and the particular *dimensions* of that alignment.
The more “goal-directed” the meeting is, the less this is true.

The whole value proposition is in discovering unknown connections and resonances between you.
Or discovering that there is no real resonance at all.
Read 4 tweets
Jul 18, 2018
The New Testament sees Jesus as the answer to an ultimate question:

How do we unlock humanity’s future?
Will it be through violence?
Religious observance?
Ethnic separation?
No, says Jesus.

It will come by being willing to fall. Being willing to be wrong.
Being willing to die.
Read 8 tweets

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