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3.9 out of 5 stars
The Sciences of the Artificial - 3rd Edition
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18 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
in 2008, this work is primarily of historical interest. simon suggests a scientific approach to design, claiming one has existed since the mid-1970's - in retrospect, a highly suspect if not thoroughly rejected claim

regardless, simon was a visionary and some of his insight is still relevant. the focus on the "outer environment" - the context of usage - to navigate the space of possible designs is a foundation of contemporary design dogma. similarly, attention to the natural cognitive capabilities of human beings (short term memory, importance/difficulty of interruptions, etc) finds a warm home in current human-centered design practices

otherwise, without notable exception, the "examples" are abstract, ridiculous and/or hackneyed caricatures. the language is abstract, wordy, repetitive, and difficult to follow. simon writes with a computer scientist's sensitivity to humanity, using identical terms to describe both a computer's information-processing and a human's intelligence (eg, p110, "a scientific account of human cognition describes it in terms of several sets of invariants. first, there are the parameters of the inner environment. then, there are the general control and search-guiding mechanisms that are used over and over again in all task domains..."). the work exhibits a techno-fetishist's faith in the power of computers and software - referencing them repeatedly (and unbelievably) to explain how human intelligence works

i only recommend this book to someone interested in the history of design and/or technology. for purposes of learning about design, i highly recommend something newer and better
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