I agree to Mcluhan except for his idea about “the medium is the message”. In my point of view, the medium is a necessary part of the message but not the whole message itself. I argue that a message has triumvirate parts, consisting of the (1) people (sender and receiver, where the sender and receiver can be the same person), (2) media (including the environment) and (3) the information/content (including the intention or purpose). This triumvirate is inseparable from each other, that is, eliminating one will make the message incomplete. Disregarding the people and the content and focusing only on the medium reduce the value of the message. The content and people are not just incidental/secondary to the medium. The triumvirate should be seen using a systems perspective and not using reductionism.
However, I totally agree to Mcluhan’s idea that the “effect rather than meaning is a basic change of our electric time, for effect involves the total situation, and not a singe level of information movement”. For example, the effect to the receiver when an enemy (sender) sent “I love you” (content) using telephone (medium) is different compared to the case when the receiver’s lover (sender) sent “I love you” (content) using telephone (medium). Another example is that the effect of advertising a certain product using television and using radio are different. This implies that the question “Is technology good or bad to humanity?” is pointless as effects of technology vary depending on the situation.
Alan Kay became famous as a pioneer of object-oriented programming and graphical user interface (GUI) design. He is also well-known for his idea of “a personal computer for children of all ages”, called Dynabook, even before laptops and tablets were invented. The works of Alan Kay impress me, especially his innovative ideas. Innovation --- theoretical/conceptual (Dynabook) or applied (object-oriented programming and GUI) --- could change how humans utilize technology.
Another good thing about Alan Kay’s work is promoting personalized dynamic media. Technology is not anymore rigid but is now dynamic. Human can now use technology that fits his/her own preferences and personality. Technology is not just a device but already part of our lives. Dynamic media increases productivity of the society.
I would like to comment about Mathematics VS Computer Science. We cannot judge what discipline is more important compared to the other. Computer Science will not exist without Mathematics, while Mathematics could not progress without technology. In fact, in this modern times it is difficult to put a demarcation line between these disciplines. I agree that traditional mathematical models could not represent all biological, physical and social phenomena but I also believe that computer simulations cannot represent all biological, physical and social phenomena. In fact, there are no perfect models/simulations (that is why they are called models because they are abstraction of reality) but, of course, there are useful ones (and also useless ones).
I must say that doing research, specifically publishing papers, is just part of my academic career. I am an advocate of holistic academic career, where Research (formulating new knowledge), Instruction (sharing knowledge to other people) and Extension (application of knowledge for social development) should go hand-in-hand. We can connect this idea of holistic academic career to Human Interface (HI) model. If we want to build a good HI, we should not only focus on one sensory input but focus on multiple sensory inputs and interaction among the inputs --- that is, taking into account the holistic personality of humans. Moreover, HI should be formed using holistic human-interface-computer system (that is, not as individual reductionist interface-only or computer-only model). We need to look at both directions of how humans can enhance computers and how computers can enhance humans. “Humans” here do not necessarily pertain to individuals but can also pertain to interacting individuals or to groups or communities.
Further research can be done to improve HI (e.g., algorithms, content database, infrastructure, security, etc.). We also need to improve how we get meaning/value out of available huge data that are available (e.g., in the internet). When I think of advanced HI, the movie Ex Machina comes into my mind (trailer can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYGzRB4Pnq8). The movie presents an advanced human-like AI robot; however, I believe that robot is not yet perfect.