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Google’s Deus Ex Machina

Google’s Deus Ex Machina

  • 2017-12-02

How a surprisingly obscure thinker, and Hitler's schoolboy classmate, will dominate your UX decision making process in the near future. If not already.

In between shelling British boats and suffering in an Italian POW camp during WWI, Ludwig Wittgenstein scribbled notes that would become the foundational basis of philosophy. Even more, he defined – possibly even invented – the basis of user experience design.
“To show the fly the way out of the fly bottle.” When asked what the goal of philosophy was, that was Wittgenstein’s answer. Philosophy is a process, not a resilt

His words will, or should, be required reading as a theoretical basis for User Experience basics, and particularly content strategies, to increase engagement and sales for clients of agencies like our agencies.

That face was Ludwig Wittgenstein's face, a man who's profession is almost —and ironically — sullied by being called a philosopher. For the purposes here, as linguist, sullies his contributions to communication further by giving him the same title of a fellow linguist – and noted solipsist – Noam Chomsky… but I digress. 

To a content strategist, or to the layers above them in the UX and CX position, language is our business. Not only in a simplest sense of communication — design is language, too —  but also in totality. There is nothing outside of language that we deal with, which makes gems like the following by Wittgenstein about language:    

"The limits of my language mean the limits of my world"

“The essential business of language is to assert or deny facts."

"My difficulty is only an — enormous — difficulty of expression" 

"The meaning of a word is its use." 
"Language is a part of our organism and no less complicated than it."

Testing & Iteration<\h3> “If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done.”

“The same operation which makes “q” from “p”, makes “r” from “q”, and so on. This can only be expressed by the fact that “p”, “q”, “r”, etc., are variables which give general expression to certain formal relations.” 

Bookeded succinctly in his final published words during his lifetime: "Thereof one can not speak, one is obliged to remain silent."

Wittgenstein, in a nutshell, from School of Life on YouTube.

We can even take a quote about methodology, like — "Don't get involved in partial problems, but always take flight to where there is a free view over the whole single great problem, even if this view is still not a clear one" — furthers my point. Wittgenstein's place as the summation of philosophy is, in part, as a result of how one philosophizes; as an ongoing practice.    Wittgenstein was interested in how in-groups and communities used langauge, what the meanings of the words are, and where wonderment about the origin of the meaning and the use matter and, conversely, don't matter. Most of all, it was about language as a means to effectively communicate ideas. 

When I see a SERP, say, for