[Humanist] 25.22 in denial

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon May 16 07:24:46 CEST 2011

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 22.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sun, 15 May 2011 12:52:24 +0200
        From: procchi at luiss.it
        Subject: on tool

Recently I read:
The car is a tool,
The motorcycle is a tool,
Radio is a tool
TV is a tool
The computer is a tool

Everything you want to use as a tool is a tool.

Obviously one learns how to use the object that he/she will adopt, and attends a course. Concepts are unnecessary to such a course which delivers operational contents. However if you change your mind and mean to discover the how and the why of your tool, if you like to examine the root-causes of this instrument, the principles that embody this implement, you attend university lessons that will improve your knowledge and will make you better conscious of your professional actions. As an example the driving school teaches the layman to drive a car, if he likes to be aware of the combustion engine the layman attends lessons on thermodynamics and rises the level of knowledge in motoring.

This is not the case of computers. 

Thousands of operators deliver courses that are operational however if you like to go deep into computing, universities do not offer satisfactory lessons, they are unable to enhance your culture in the field, they do not broaden your view over technology. 

The reason is easy: theoretical researches on the principles of computing are stuck to the pole since decades. Despite great emphasis and presupposition experts refer to theoretical models alien to a number of modern digital solutions, they cite authors who lived more than fifty years ago, they assume as exhaustive theories that cover narrow areas. Humanists are sensitive to cultural values and should not ignore the current state of the art. I quote the recent debate “What is computing? What is information?” hosted by the ACM Ubiquity (http://ubiquity.acm.org/symposia.cfm)

Paolo Rocchi

Docent Emeritus
via Shangai 53, 00144 Roma

LUISS University
via Alberoni 7, 00198 Roma

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