Mind and Computing

There is no doubt that Cognitive Science and Neurology have been impacted by computing in many ways. Perhaps the most profound are the relatively non-invasive tools such as PET, MRI, and CAT scanning that allows researchers to see the development and changes to the brain over time and in the case of PET over various motor and attention tests/experiments allowing localizing where centers of activity are clusted over a mental and/or motor process.

The other arena where computing has strongly impacted mind science is in the formulation of hypotheses and “simple mind exercises” by comparing to digital processing and control tasks. This has been a fruitful endeavour since the Aiken, Turing and other pioneers of control and computing theory in the 40s through 60s. But AI-Artificial Intelligence and the Herbert Simon CMU school of thought sparked a second generation of thinking on thinking.

Two books, Mind Hacks by Tom Stafford and Matt Webb and Mind: A Brief Introduction by John R. Searle explore the Mind from two different but highly complementary points of view. And remarkably both bear surprisingly worthwhile ROIs for their insights they provide on how people think , attend and decide. This then tells us useful things about how IT systems and especially the interface or Presentation layer in systems should be configured. See Bookraft.com for complete reviews of the two books and more coming.

JBSurveyer 2005