10 May 2011 /

turing's man: western culture in the computer age

By jay david bolter

Jay David Bolter charts the connection of ideas about the world and the development of technology to consider the cultural impact of computers on our age. In Turing’s Man, he links the computer with earlier technologies that have shaped the way we conceptualize the notion of time, space, language, memory, and human creativity. If technology is broadly defined as the controlled application of power, ancient forms such as craft tools connect closely with human or animal muscle power. It is well established that the middle ages developed a dynamic but clockwork view of the world that underpinned philosophical and theological thinking at that time. In considering technologies, it is important to recognize this long history of mechanisms that relate to computation in the broadest sense.

“the issue is not whether the computers can be made to think like a human, but whether humans can and will take on the qualities of digital computers. For that, is the fundamental promise and threat of the computer age, the fundamental premise of Turing’s man."

Share this