19.283 personification and anthropomorphism in software

From: Humanist Discussion List (D. Gants for W. McCarty) <dgants_at_ROGERS.COM>
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 13:50:56 -0300

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 283.
      Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                    Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

        Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 13:37:33 -0300
        From: Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak <sobkow_at_amu.edu.pl>
        Subject: personification and anthropomorphism in software
        In-Reply-To: <000d01c5b6d9$acb26ca0$2f42153e_at_wlodek>

> I'm interested in finding
> intelligent discussion of this fact -- interaction design as an
> imaginative act of personification.
> Yours,
> WM

You may find my paper of interest in this context: "1993."DBMS as a model o=
f MLC". In Darski,J. & Z.Vetulani(eds). Sprache - Kommunikation -
Informatik. Akten des 26. Linguistischen Kolloquiums, Poznan 1991.
T=FCbingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. 187-94. [Linguistische Arbeiten 293]

Abstract follows.

prof. Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak
School of English
Adam Mickiewicz University
al. Niepodleglosci 4
61-874 Poznan
tel. (48-61) 8293506
fax (48-61) 8523103
e-mail: sobkow_at_amu.edu.pl
e-mail: swlodek_at_ifa.amu.edu.pl
office web page: http://elex.amu.edu.pl/ifa/staff/sobkowiak.html
personal web page: http://elex.amu.edu.pl/~sobkow/

Data Base Management Systems (like dBase III+) contain
certain meta-cognitive mechanisms parallel to those available
in natural language. These are necessary to manipulate the
presupposed cognitive systems: linguistic competence of
speakers/hearers' in the case of language, and the data base
of information in the case of DBMSs. The mechanisms are
termed meta-cognitive because in either case they effect some
manipulation of the existing self-contained cognitive system
'from the outside', so to speak, by a discretionary decision
to apply certain controls to the system.

Metalinguistic speakers' competence (MLC) has only rarely
and anecdotally been subject of analysis. In this paper I
concentrate on the functional parallels between some metalin-
guistic phenomena and certain mechanisms of data base manipu-
lation available in dBase III+. In particular, I inspect such
phenomena as foreign language learning, translation, speech
play, impersonation, tip-of-the-tongue states, backward speech
and others. In terms of meta-cognitive functioning, there are
interesting analogues of these phenomena in such mechanisms of
dBase III+ as filtering, indexing, sorting, searching,
relating files, string manipulation, etc.

Far from being entirely unexpected, such functional
parallels testify to the underlying unity of cognitive
processing, and suggest that it may be profitable to consider
the data base management metaphor in modelling the
metalinguistic functioning of speakers/hearers.
Received on Tue Sep 13 2005 - 13:06:53 EDT

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