Turing's Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age

Turing's Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age

by J. David Bolter

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Trained in both classics and computer science, Bolter considers the cultural impact of computers on our age, comparing the computer to earlier technologies that redefined fundamental notions of time, space, language, memory, and human creativity. Surprisingly, he finds that in many ways the outlook of the computer age bears more resemblance to that of the ancient world than to that of the Enlightenment. The classical philosopher and the computer programmer share share a suspicion of infinity, an acceptance of necessary limitations on human achievement, and a belief that results are more important than motives.

Although Bolter fears that the growing use of computers may well diminish out culture's sense of the historical and intellectual context of human endeavor, he contends that the computer also offers new ways of looking at intellectual freedom, creativity, and the conservation of precious resources.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469616308
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 02/01/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 276
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

J. David Bolter is Wesley Chair of New Media at Georgia Institute of Technology. He is author or coauthor of three other books, including Windows and Mirrors: Interaction Design, Digital Art, and the Myth of Transparency.

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The most illuminating book that has yet come my way on the topic of artificial intelligence. . . . A succinct account of the ways in which modern computers work and of the social implications of their use.—A. J. Ayer, New York Review of Books

What is . . . important about Turing's Man is its success in bridging the gap between the sciences and the humanities. I can only guess at how much it will inform the computer technologist about philosophy and art, but I can vouch for how much it has to say to the nonspecialist about how computers work. . . . But most provocative about this study is what it has to say about the political implications of the computer age.—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times

Immensely stimulating. . . . I know of no other work that is comparable, of no other that deals so imaginatively with the intellectual consequences of the arrival of the computer in our civilization.—Stephen R. Graubard, editor of Daedalus

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