- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; First Printing edition (January 11, 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780201112979
- ISBN-13: 978-0201112979
- ASIN: 0201112973
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design First Printing Edition
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I am a little surprised not to find a review here that shows awareness of what this book is and was intended to do -- to turn those concerned with the design of the role of computers in society into a new direction. The book offers a fundamental enrichment and extension to the traditional engineering-based foundations that are used for designing computer systems that is drawn from philosophy and biology. It opens the development of a rigorous new design milleau to the reader. This is NOT yet another multi-disciplinary rumination.
I would say this is not a "helpful" book, and it was never intended as an easy read. It is a book to turn to when one has learned enough about what is really at issue in putting computers to work in human life to discover that the likes of input, process, output, "friendly" interfaces, attractive graphical presentations, and logical flow charts are vastly insufficient distinctions for doing work that really makes a contribution to your clients and colleagues. The book challenges the reader strongly, and is not simple to read. I guess that the best way to read it is with someone else, having discussions as you go along.
This is a book to engage and grow with -- a must-read for those serious about designing and building systems that will affect the lives of those who engage with them.
* This book is a penetrating critique of modern approaches to understanding and modeling human cognition and language, objections which are still hardly addressed in present day mainstream research.
* Interestingly, this book is in many ways a detailed repudiation of Winograd's own SHRDLU, a program whose capability in the '70s exceeds that of even present day commercial "AI"-like efforts.
* The attitude of the authors strikes me as being somewhat defeatist. Their thesis is to sidestep the (very valid) issues raised by Heidegger and Maturana, by reframing the role of computers in society. Their reframing certainly works -- we have ample proof of this in modern computing. However, they do not outline a plan for a better approach to understanding and modeling cognition.
* The latter 1/3 portion of the book contains dated material outlining the authors' ideas on the "future" (ie, post late-1980's) on how technology can be used in society. Many of these ideas may seem obvious to modern readers.
Despite being first published in 1986, much of the content of this book remains relevant. It provides some answers to the thought-provoking question of why even in our modern times computers have never been thinking.