I was involved in a discussion about interdisciplinary collaboration with a very high powered group which included various people who create procedural characters, develop systems to compose interactive narrative, generate controllable language expression, and so forth.
We were discussing various ways we might all collaborate, when a professor of literature in the room asked “Yes, but what is the humanities research question?”
For a while that question stopped the discussion dead, and it took a while for me to understand why. The problem, I think, was that it was just the wrong question.
You can’t ask what the significance or cultural meanings are of work created in a new medium, until you’ve actually built the medium and somebody has created work with it.
The take-away lesson for me was that people who are creating new media should try very hard not to get pulled into conversations about what it all might mean. Rather, they should do everything they can to progress to the point where talented authors and creators can get their hands on the new tool.
Only then will the potential power (or lack thereof) of the medium come into view. And only then can the interesting cultural questions start to be asked.