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Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design 61997th Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0201112979
ISBN-10: 0201112973
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  • Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Terry Winograd is professor of computer science at Stanford University where he has developed an innovative program in software design. Winograd completed much of his work on this book at Interval Research Corporation, where he is a regular consultant. He is a member of the advisory board of the Association for Software Design, the editorial board of Human-Computer Interaction, and the national board of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.
0201854910AB04062001

Robert C. Solomon is the Quincy Lee Centennial Professor of Business and Philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin. His books include A Short History of Philosophy and Business Ethics, both published by OUP. Fernando Flores is Presidente, Fundacion Chile (a Chilean non-governmental organization)
and Chairman and CEO of Business Design Associates, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 61997th edition (January 11, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201112973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201112979
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chauncey Bell on July 24, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A few years ago Byte Magazine named this one of the 10 most important books in the history of the computer industry. Flores was asked to keynote the 50th anniversary meeting of the ACM on the strength of the work he has done, some of which is shown here.
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.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book when it was first published in the mid 1980's. At the time I was studying artificial intelligence as part of a graduate program in computer science. I have not looked at this book in a long time ("my bad") but I remember it was ground-breaking in at least several ways - at least for me personally!

1. It opened my eyes to the limitations of the then-current approaches being attempted to recreate (via computer) human intelligence and/or human speech understanding and production. The approaches dominant at the time were logic-based algorithms based on frames, and neural-inspired algorithms.

2. It opened my eyes to the notion that recreating human intelligence or human language via computer was NOT nearly as important as many of us thought it was. Rather, more important was (and is) to understand human-computer interaction and provide machines that complement and extend our skills and strengths (which I now view as an extension of the thinking of Douglas Englebart). And....

3. Communication and meaning are necessarily embedded in our physical being and our physical situation.

As I recall, the authors drew from a variety of thinkers and disciplines. Frankly, I have a hard time remembering right now to what extents my insights were due to Winograd/Flores work versus how they may have simply altered my direction of exploration (e.g. to study George Lakoff's work on the remarkable role of metaphor in language).

This is the first time I've ever written a book review on Amazon that is essentially a description of the book's impact on my life and thinking rather than the book itself. I don't remember the details of the book! But I clearly remember that it changed my life.
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By A Customer on March 25, 1997
Format: Paperback
A remarkable work that delves into the field of human cognition and emerges with a fresh, intelligent perspective of how computers can and cannot support human cognitive efforts. Anyone interested in artificial intelligence and/or workflow will find this book an informative read
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Format: Paperback
Winograd and Flores' `Understanding Computers and Cognition' proposes that the rationalist tradition in AI must be replaced by a hermeneutic approach. Associating the rationalist tradition with the goal of building a human mind, the authors propose that a hermeneutic approach must adopt the goal of constructing prostheses which magnify the human mind. This paper argues that what AI needs is not so much a hermeneutic approach as a better appreciation of biology and psychology. Understanding Computers and Cognition is a groundbreaking book that presents an important new approach to understanding what computers do and how their functioning is related to human language, thought and action. Byte Magazine has recognized Understanding Computers and Cognition as one of the all-time 20 most influential books on information technology.
Thank you!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is probably the 7th or 8th copy of this book, I've purchased. My original? I have no idea where it is. But it is such an important book that I keep buying them and giving them away. I'm not a computer geek by any measure so what I find useful to share with my non-technical friends are the constructs provided on conversational technology that are at the foundation of this book. I'm an executive coach and have had the pleasure of working with Fernando Flores. I cannot overstate how important his contribution is to moving people and organizations forward in producing the results they want. It is well worth the time and energy and thinking you spend.
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