Re[2]: Math & Writing (A Freudian Analysis)

Subject: Re[2]: Math & Writing (A Freudian Analysis)
From: Dick Price <DPrice -at- COMPUTER -dot- ORG>
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 1994 09:32:00 EST


I recently interviewed a computer scientist for my magazine
who had interesting things to say about the dichotomy between
art and science. He is David Gelernter of Yale, who wrote
"The Muse in the Machine: Computerizing the Poetry of Human

The book delineates problems Gelernter feels that scientists,
in this case artificial intelligence researchers, have gotten
themselves into by ignoring how people actually think.
He contends that AI research has largely failed to reach its
promise because it has focused exclusively on logical,
rational thought processes, entirely ignoring emotions,
dreams, whimsy, hallucinations, and the like that have
such a powerful affect on our thinking.

Anyway, he concluded the interview by saying, "In the late 1930s,
art and technology were aligned in a way they are not today.
Then, engineering and romance were linked--engineering was
romantic--in a way that's not true today. Then, art made technology
beautiful, technology made the future beautiful, and that had a
lot do with people's optimism then despite the grim realities
of the times...."

The book is well worth reading. It's from Free Press, New York, 1994.
The interview will appear in IEEE Micro's December issue. I could
probably get a copy to anyone who would like to read the interview.


dprice -at- computer -dot- org

_______________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Math & Writing (A Freudian Analysis)
Author: TECHWR-L -at- VM1 -dot- ucc -dot- okstate -dot- edu@INTERNET at CCROUTER
Date: 11/11/94 9:30 AM


That so much has been said about Math vs. Writing suggests (and I may be
self projecting here) our deep rooted insecurity toward our chosen
of technical writing. There are may reasons for this, among them: we
get paid as much; companies keep telling us they want their scientists
do their own writing; and TW is a pretty new professions.

To counter this unconscious insecurity, our superego constructs a
based on the cultural (and, if I may add, mythical--in the Roland
sense) dichotomy of arts and science: that one has a natural proclivity
talent) for the arts OR sciences, rarely can one do both well.
Communication is an art (despite the work of linguists and
deconstructionists), and most scientist do not have a flair for this.

Now if we can sell this to our captains of industry, we'll be set for


Matthew (wong -at- acec -dot- com)

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