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Computerization & Computational Thinking

Alan Turing, the author of Computing Machinery and Intelligence, asks, “Can machines think?” He argues that no evidence or convincing arguments exist that a machine cannot think as intelligently as human beings. He approaches his theory philosophically and technically, where the technical elements seem more philosophical than the technical elements. Turing commences his investigation by indicating that an answer to the question is discoverable by subjecting the machines to what is known as the “Imitation Game,” also known as “The Turing test.”

The game involves two people and one machine, with one of the persons acting as the interrogator. The interrogator is meant to deduce who is the machine and who is human. Then conclude the difference between their thinking ability. The modern-day machines used in the game are “digital computers” (Aho, 2012, pg.3), which issue instructions without any inconsistency. According to Turing, only digital computers can participate in the imitation game through proper programming, and only then can they have the potential to mimic the human thought process.

The most interesting part in section 6 is when Turing argues the possibility of conscious machines that would eventually pass as intellectual as human beings. He elaborates that the way to achieve this is by writing a program that instructs the computer to build up its understanding, similar to a child. Turing’s paper is an investigative narrative towards the prospects of having an existing tool that would function as a brain outside ourselves (Aho, 2012, pg.8). He refutes the idea that a digital computer is only allowed to mimic, which can be easily be differentiated from a human being.

Since Turing wrote his paper, we have seen incredible improvement on this theory, for example; Sophia, the social Robot from Hanson Robotics. This robot can analyze data visually, emotionally, and on a conversational basis. In my opinion, Turing’s argument was right, and in the future, human beings will be able to program digital computers to have a conscience. To comprehend and appreciate how we interact with new media, we need to understand how it all began.

Intro to digital communication and the Information Society

Vanner Bush published an essay known as “As We May Think,”; where he elaborates his vision for the future. He elaborates how science will migrate from destroying the enemy to making the world a better place during peacetime. Bush had been one of the leaders on the Manhattan Project, which came up with the atomic bomb; this was a pivotal moment for the discovery and mass technological and theoretical development.

After the end of the war, Bush gives weight to the idea of elongating the human memory and the human ability to recollect, categorize and catalog human information as a whole. According to Bush, science has leveled the field where communication between individuals is swift and effective. It has allowed the manipulation and collection of extracts to allow the evolution of knowledge that evolves and endures through life far beyond the existence of an individual. (Bush, 1945, pg.2). After figuring out information preservation, there arises a question on how to access and decipher information positively.

According to (Winer, 1954, pg. 2), we can recognize a society by studying the messages and communication facilities that belong to it. Future development of these messages and communication styles, for example, messages between a man and machine, machines and man, machine and machine, play a crucial role in contributing to digital communication growth (Edwards, 1997, pg, 17). For information to be useful to science, it must be stored, extended, and consulted to allow maximum benefit. Bush illustrates that scientists needed a way to organize information in a useful way, and he looks forward to inventions of the World Wide Web and hypertext. As (Turner, 2005, pg.8) indicate, we could connect and interact with one another with practicality and emotions as we consider and embrace the power of cooperation.

In my opinion, Bush has a valid point, for he sees the core vision for information’s importance to society. He foresees information science merging to become a central discipline within science. He allows us to interpret and view cooperation as a way of life where knowledge and information merge to form a communion.

Digitalization and digital media

The essay by Benjamin is highly acknowledged for its innovative and original discussions of the new art of film. When Benjamin came up with the remarks, it is good to understand that the sound film was in infancy. The innovative technology was needed by studios and producers in the film industry to elevate the motion pictures experience. The transition to sound improvement was effective and speedy, which translated to a massive increase in profits for the film industry.

The technology to separate the images from the sound to allow independent editing and manipulation made it easier to bring out a better end product; this process is known as post synchronization. Separation of sound and images came along in 1922 in the musical Hallelujah. This invention took the film industry to another level, providing employment opportunities for novelists, editors, and playwrights to fill in dialogue script gaps. According to Benjamin, the art of film, like the representation of a modern wanderer, is a quintessential feature of the current society. In today’s world, it is evident that crossover cases between stage and screen acting still occur to bring forth an excellent imaginative performance or film (Benjamin, 2018, pg 11). It is also true to identify that the two crafts are independent of each other, and they require different talents and abilities to execute the screen performances.

Film, photography, lithography, and arts progression create a logical part to the argument; it is curious. However, they do not pay attention to recorded music or phonograph, which is another way that alters the interaction between musical work of art and its audience. For example, instead of listening to an opera show in a concert hall, a listener can enjoy a recording individually dozens of times without necessarily sharing the experience with other listeners.

In my opinion, the relationship between an author and an audience is beginning to lose its essential character mainly because authentic storytelling is dwindling with time. Especially in times when everything can be recorded and shared on our devices. It would be interesting to hear Benjamin’s opinion on this matter, especially with the internet age, which allows anyone to be their author, editor, and publisher.

Work Cited

Aho, Alfred V. “Computation and computational thinking.” The computer journal 55.7 (2012): 832-835.

Bush, Vannevar. “As we may think.” The atlantic monthly 176.1 (1945): 101-108.

Wiener, Norbert. “Cybernetics in history.” Theorizing in communication: Readings across traditions (1954): 267-273.

Turner, Fred. “Where the counterculture met the new economy: The WELL and the origins of virtual community.” Technology and culture 46.3 (2005): 485-512.

Edwards, Paul N. “Why Build Computers?: The Military Role in Computer Research.” The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America (1997): 54-74.

Benjamin, Walter. The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. Routledge, 2018.


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