Metaphors for Computing

Presented by: Daniel Punday, Professor of English & Philosophy

This class will look at attempts to envision our relationship with computers, from early descriptions of the new technology hard drive, through the mid-1980s personal computer advertisements, through current ideas about the Kindle ebook library and the Apple iPad. We will trace the evolution of key metaphors (“writing” files to the hard drive) and the continuing challenges of thinking about our connections to these machines and the information they allow us to access. Our discussion will build upon Nicholas Carr’s brilliant study, “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.”