43 min

E44: The offloaded brain, part 4: an interview with David Chapman Oddly Influenced

    • Technology

In the '80s, David Chapman and Phil Agre were doing work within AI that was very compatible with the ecological and embodied cognition approach I've been describing. They produced a program, Pengi, that played a video game well enough (given the technology of the time) even though it had nothing like an internal representation of the game board and barely any persistent state at all. In this interview, David describes the source of their crazy ideas and how Pengi worked.
Pengi is more radically minimalist than what I've been thinking of as ecologically-inspired software design, so it makes a good introduction to the next episode.
Sources
Philip E. Agre, Computation and Human Experience, 1997, contains a description of Pengi, but is much more about the motivation behind it and also a discussion of "critical technical practice" that I think is nicely compatible with Schön's "reflective practice". I intend to cover both eventually. Philip E. Agre and David Chapman, "Pengi: An implementation of a theory of activity", 1987Chapman links
Meaningness.com (including greatest hits)I found his ideas about Vajrayana Buddhism intriguingOther
A recording of a Pengo gameThe foundational text of ethnomethodology is notoriously (and, some – waves – think, gratuitously) opaque. I found Heritage's Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology far more readable. I've enjoyed the Em does Ca (conversational analysis) Youtube series. The episode on turn-construction units hits me where I live. She talks about how people know when, in a conversation, they're allowed to talk. I'm mildly bad at that in person. I'm somewhat worse when talking to a single person over video. I'm horrible at it when on a multiple-person conference call, with or without postage-stamp-sized video images of faces. Credits
The Pengo image is by Arcade Addiction. Retrieved from Wikipedia. Fair use.

In the '80s, David Chapman and Phil Agre were doing work within AI that was very compatible with the ecological and embodied cognition approach I've been describing. They produced a program, Pengi, that played a video game well enough (given the technology of the time) even though it had nothing like an internal representation of the game board and barely any persistent state at all. In this interview, David describes the source of their crazy ideas and how Pengi worked.
Pengi is more radically minimalist than what I've been thinking of as ecologically-inspired software design, so it makes a good introduction to the next episode.
Sources
Philip E. Agre, Computation and Human Experience, 1997, contains a description of Pengi, but is much more about the motivation behind it and also a discussion of "critical technical practice" that I think is nicely compatible with Schön's "reflective practice". I intend to cover both eventually. Philip E. Agre and David Chapman, "Pengi: An implementation of a theory of activity", 1987Chapman links
Meaningness.com (including greatest hits)I found his ideas about Vajrayana Buddhism intriguingOther
A recording of a Pengo gameThe foundational text of ethnomethodology is notoriously (and, some – waves – think, gratuitously) opaque. I found Heritage's Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology far more readable. I've enjoyed the Em does Ca (conversational analysis) Youtube series. The episode on turn-construction units hits me where I live. She talks about how people know when, in a conversation, they're allowed to talk. I'm mildly bad at that in person. I'm somewhat worse when talking to a single person over video. I'm horrible at it when on a multiple-person conference call, with or without postage-stamp-sized video images of faces. Credits
The Pengo image is by Arcade Addiction. Retrieved from Wikipedia. Fair use.

43 min

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