Filed under book | Tags: · craft, hand, history, labour, machine, technology, work
Craftsmanship, says Richard Sennett, names the basic human impulse to do a job well for its own sake, and good craftsmanship involves developing skills and focusing on the work rather than ourselves. The computer programmer, the doctor, the artist, and even the parent and citizen all engage in a craftsman’s work. In this thought-provoking book, Sennett explores the work of craftsmen past and present, identifies deep connections between material consciousness and ethical values, and challenges received ideas about what constitutes good work in today’s world.
The Craftsman engages the many dimensions of skill—from the technical demands to the obsessive energy required to do good work. Craftsmanship leads Sennett across time and space, from ancient Roman brickmakers to Renaissance goldsmiths to the printing presses of Enlightenment Paris and the factories of industrial London; in the modern world he explores what experiences of good work are shared by computer programmers, nurses and doctors, musicians, glassblowers, and cooks. Unique in the scope of his thinking, Sennett expands previous notions of crafts and craftsmen and apprises us of the surprising extent to which we can learn about ourselves through the labor of making physical things.
Publisher Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2008
ISBN 0300149557, 9780300149555
Filed under book | Tags: · computing, cybernetics, machine
Giant Brains is one of the first books on electronic computers for a general audience.
In it, the co-founder Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Edmund Berkeley described the principles behind computing machines (called then “mechanical brains”, “sequence-controlled calculators”, or various other terms), and then gave a technical but accessible survey of the most prominent examples of the time, including machines from MIT, Harvard, the Moore School, Bell Laboratories, and elsewhere.
Originally published by Wiley & Sons, 1949
Publisher Science Editions, New York, 1961
Filed under book | Tags: · 1700s, automation, history of literature, literature, machine, media archeology, robotics
Anxieties about fixing the absolute difference between the human being and the mechanical replica, the automaton, are as old as the first appearance of the machine itself. Exploring these anxieties and the efforts they prompted, this book opens a window on one of the most significant, if subtle, ideological battles waged on behalf of the human against the machine since the Enlightenment—one that continues in the wake of technological and conceptual progress today.
A sustained examination of the automaton as early modern machine and as a curious ancestor of the twentieth-century robot, Copying Machines offers extended readings of mechanistic images in the eighteenth century through the prism of twentieth-century commentary. In readings of texts by Lafayette, Molière, Laclos, and La Bruyère—and in a chapter on the eighteenth-century inventor of automatons, Jacques Vaucanson—Catherine Liu provides a fascinating account of ways in which the automaton and the preindustrial machine haunt the imagination of ancien régime France and structure key moments of the canonical literature and criticism of the period.
Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 2000
ISBN 0816635021, 9780816635023
Filed under magazine | Tags: · autopoiesis, biology, cognition, computing, cybernetics, language, machine, mathematics
Editorial board: Gordon Pask, Humberto Maturana, Heinz von Foerster, Terry Winograd, Larry Richards (Vol 2 only)
Editor Paul Trachtman (Vol 1)
Publisher The American Society for Cybernetics
Filed under book | Tags: · anthropology, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computing, ethnomethodology, human-computer interaction, interface, machine, robots, software, technology
This 2007 book considers how agencies are currently figured at the human-machine interface, and how they might be imaginatively and materially reconfigured. Contrary to the apparent enlivening of objects promised by the sciences of the artificial, the author proposes that the rhetorics and practices of those sciences work to obscure the performative nature of both persons and things. The question then shifts from debates over the status of human-like machines, to that of how humans and machines are enacted as similar or different in practice, and with what theoretical, practical and political consequences. Drawing on scholarship across the social sciences, humanities and computing, the author argues for research aimed at tracing the differences within specific sociomaterial arrangements without resorting to essentialist divides. This requires expanding our unit of analysis, while recognizing the inevitable cuts or boundaries through which technological systems are constituted.
Publisher Cambridge University Press, 2007
Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives series
ISBN 052167588X, 9780521675888
Filed under book | Tags: · algorithm, digital humanities, literary criticism, machine, pataphysics, text, turing machine
Rethinking digital literary criticism by situating computational work within the broader context of the humanities
Besides familiar and now-commonplace tasks that computers do all the time, what else are they capable of? Stephen Ramsay’s intriguing study of computational text analysis examines how computers can be used as “reading machines” to open up entirely new possibilities for literary critics. Computer-based text analysis has been employed for the past several decades as a way of searching, collating, and indexing texts. Despite this, the digital revolution has not penetrated the core activity of literary studies: interpretive analysis of written texts.
Computers can handle vast amounts of data, allowing for the comparison of texts in ways that were previously too overwhelming for individuals, but they may also assist in enhancing the entirely necessary role of subjectivity in critical interpretation. Reading Machines discusses the importance of this new form of text analysis conducted with the assistance of computers. Ramsay suggests that the rigidity of computation can be enlisted by intuition, subjectivity, and play.
Publisher University of Illinois Press, 2011
Topics in the Digital Humanities series
ISBN 0252078209, 9780252078200
Filed under book | Tags: · economics, machine, nuclear weapons, sociology, sociology of technology, tacit knowledge, technology
Ranging from broad inquiries into the roles of economics and sociology in the explanation of technological change to an argument for the possibility of “uninventing” nuclear weapons, this selection of Donald MacKenzie’s essays provides a solid introduction to the style and substance of the sociology of technology.
Two conceptual essays are followed by seven empirical essays focusing on the laser gyroscopes that are central to modern aircraft navigation technology, supercomputers (with a particular emphasis on their use in the design of nuclear weapons), the application of mathematical proof in the design of computer systems, computer-related accidental deaths, and the nature of the knowledge that is needed to design a nuclear bomb. Two of the articles won major prizes on their original journal publication. A substantial new introduction outlines the common themes underlying this body of work and places them in the context of recent debates in technology studies.
Publisher MIT Press, 1996
Inside Technology series
ISBN 0262133156, 9780262133159
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