9.505 computers & society

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Tue, 30 Jan 1996 18:19:55 -0500 (EST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 505.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Martin Mueller <martinmueller@nwu.edu> (21)
Subject: Re: 9.501 computing & social models

>Is it fair to say that the design of a computing system mirrors a
>social model, and perhaps even more a particular conception of humanity? If
>this is so, then what we as computing humanists do, our role as critic, is
>arguably very important.
For a brief moment in the eighties it seemed that "me and my PC" offered an
affordable high-tech version of Adam in Paradise alone. Now society is
raising its fair or ugly head with visions of the network, distributed
computing, and other changes that on some days look suspiciously like the
old mainframe in disguise, except that the central authority asserts itself
not in edicts from above but rules of the road to which everybody must

But is there finally an interesting story in all this or is it just the old
story of "individual and society" projected on a technological screen?

Martin Mueller
Professor of English and Classics
Department of English
Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois 60208
847-467-1065 (office)
847-864-3496 (home and voice mail)