Cognitive Technology: In Search of a Humane Interface

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Overview

In this book the editors have gathered a number of contributions by persons who have been working on problems of Cognitive Technology (CT). The present collection initiates explorations of the human mind via the technologies the mind produces. These explorations take as their point of departure the question What happens when humans produce new technologies? Two interdependent perspectives from which such a production can be approached are adopted:

• How and why constructs that have their origins in human mental life are embodied in physical environments when people fabricate their habitat, even to the point of those constructs becoming that very habitat

• How and why these fabricated habitats affect, and feed back into, human mental life.

The aim of the CT research programme is to determine, in general, which technologies, and in particular, which interactive computer-based technologies, are humane with respect to the cognitive development and evolutionary adaptation of their end users. But what does it really mean to be humane in a technological world? To shed light on this central issue other pertinent questions are raised, e.g.

• Why are human minds externalised, i.e., what purpose does the process of externalisation serve?

• What can we learn about the human mind by studying how it externalises itself?

• How does the use of externalised mental constructs (the objects we call 'tools') change people fundamentally?

• To what extent does human interaction with technology serve as an amplification of human cognition, and to what extent does it lead to a atrophy of the human mind?

The book calls for a reflection on what a tool is. Strong parallels between CT and environmentalism are drawn: both are seen as trends having originated in our need to understand how we manipulate, by means of the tools we have created, our natural habitat consisting of, on the one hand, the cognitive environment which generates thought and determines action, and on the other hand, the physical environment in which thought and action are realised. Both trends endeavour to protect the human habitat from the unwanted or uncontrolled impact of technology, and are ultimately concerned with the ethics and aesthetics of tool design and tool use.

Among the topics selected by the contributors to the book, the following themes emerge (the list is not exhaustive): using technology to empower the cognitively impaired; the ethics versus aesthetics of technology; the externalisation of emotive and affective life and its special dialectic ('mirror') effects; creativity enhancement: cognitive space, problem tractability; externalisation of sensory life and mental imagery; the engineering and modelling aspects of externalised life; externalised communication channels and inner dialogue; externalised learning protocols; relevance analysis as a theoretical framework for cognitive technology.

In this book the editors have gathered a number of contributions by persons who have been working on problems of Cognitive Technology (CT). The present collection initiates explorations of the human mind via the technologies the mind produces. These explorations take as their point of departure the question What happens when humans produce new technologies? Two interdependent perspectives from which such a production can be approached are adopted:

• How and why constructs that have their origins in human mental life are embodied in physical environments when people fabricate their habitat, even to the point of those constructs becoming that very habitat

• How and why these fabricated habitats affect, and feed back into, human mental life.

The aim of the CT research programme is to determine, in general, which technologies, and in particular, which interactive computer-based technologies, are humane with respect to the cognitive development and evolutionary adaptation of their end users. But what does it really mean to be humane in a technological world? To shed light on this central issue other pertinent questions are raised, e.g.

• Why are human minds externalised, i.e., what purpose does the process of externalisation serve?

• What can we learn about the human mind by studying how it externalises itself?

• How does the use of externalised mental constructs (the objects we call 'tools') change people fundamentally?

• To what extent does human interaction with technology serve as an amplification of human cognition, and to what extent does it lead to a atrophy of the human mind?

The book calls for a reflection on what atool is. Strong parallels between CT and environmentalism are drawn: both are seen as trends having originated in our need to understand how we manipulate, by means of the tools we have created, our natural habitat consisting of, on the one hand, the cognitive environment which generates thought and determines action, and on the other hand, the physical environment in which thought and action are realised. Both trends endeavour to protect the human habitat from the unwanted or uncontrolled impact of technology, and are ultimately concerned with the ethics and aesthetics of tool design and tool use.

Among the topics selected by the contributors to the book, the following themes emerge (the list is not exhaustive): using technology to empower the cognitively impaired; the ethics versus aesthetics of technology; the externalisation of emotive and affective life and its special dialectic ('mirror') effects; creativity enhancement: cognitive space, problem tractability; externalisation of sensory life and mental imagery; the engineering and modelling aspects of externalised life; externalised communication channels and inner dialogue; externalised learning protocols; relevance analysis as a theoretical framework for cognitive technology

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In 25 multidisciplinary papers, contributors fathom the two-way loop between humans and "epistemic technologies" restructuring our cognitive environments. Building upon the introductory foundation of Gorayska (computer science, City U. of Hong Kong) and Mey (linguistics, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL; and Odense U., Denmark), they probe the human mind by studying how it externalizes itself <-->from the vantage points of theoretical issues (cognition, modeling and mental tools, agents) and cases and problems (in communication, education, planning, and applied cognitive science). As the volume's dedication reads in part: "May the web not eat you!" Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780444822758
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science
  • Publication date: 12/28/1995
  • Series: Advances in Psychology Series , #113
  • Pages: 419
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Table of Contents

Of Minds and Men 1
1 Epistemic Technology and Relevance Analysis: Rethinking Cognitive Technology 27
2 Imaginization as an Approach to Interactive Multimedia 41
3 Intelligence Augmentation: The Vision Inside Virtual Reality 59
4 Patience and Control: The Importance of Maintaining the Link Between Producers and Users 79
5 "And Ye Shall Be As Machines" - Or Should Machines Be As Us? On the Modeling of Matter and Mind 89
6 Levels of Explanation: Complexity and Ecology 99
7 Agents and Creativity 119
8 Virtual (Reality/Intelligence) 129
9 Heuristic Ergonomics and the Socio-Cognitive Interface 147
10 How to Support Learning from Interaction with Simulated Characters 159
11 E-mail and Intimacy 201
12 Communication Impedance: Touchstone for Cognitive Technology 213
13 Technology and the Structure of Tertiary Education Institutions 225
14 A Chinese Character Based Telecommunication Device for the Deaf 235
15 Teaching Syllogistic to the Blind 243
16 Using Microcomputer Technology to Promote Students' "Higher-Order" Reading 257
17 Issues in the Development of Human-Computer Mixed-Initiative Planning 285
18 Committees of Decision Trees 305
19 A Learning Environment to Teach Planning Skills 319
20 Cognitive Technology and Differential Topology: The Importance of Shape Features 337
21 Hypertext and Reading Cognition 347
22 Verbal and Non-Verbal Behaviours in Face to Face and TV Conferences 361
23 Would Electronic Argumentation Improve Your Ability to Express Yourself? 375
24 Shared Understanding of Facial Appearance: Who are the Experts? 389
25 Interactive Cognition: Exploring the Potential of Electronic Quote/Commenting 397
Index 415
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