Computer History and Computer Culture [...]

From Seymour Papert's The Children's Machine:

The point I am making is not simply that this was a mathematical culture (which it was), but that it was the particular kind of mathematical culture in which precise calculation plays the dominant role and the technical and analytic have more weight than the intuitive and the experiential.

Thus, many factors conspired to cast the early computer culture in the hard and analytic shape that for most people remains even today synonymous with the word computer. After the war the computer slowly moved out of the sanctums of high science and the military into a wider world of business and run-of-the-mill industrial and university research. As it did so it took its culture with it, and so the popular image of the computer as "analytical logic engine" grew up and took root. What is significant here is how elements of the original computer culture persisted even when the technology no longer required or favored them. Once launched, the culture acquires a logic of its own. Although some of the mathematical extremes of the early ways to control computers were gradually softened, the hard core remained.

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Audrey Watters

Writer. Troublemaker.