Biomemitics and Interface Studies

Inspired by the body


Rosalind Picard

Affective Computing

Lucy Suchman

Plans and Situated Actions


This book considers how agencies are currently figured at the human-machine interface, and how they might be imaginatively and materially reconfigured. Contrary to the apparent enlivening of objects promised by the sciences of the artificial, the author proposes that the rhetorics and practices of those sciences work to obscure the performative nature of both persons and things. The question then shifts from debates over the status of human-like machines, to that of how humans and machines are enacted as similar or different in practice, and with what theoretical, practical and political consequences. Drawing on recent scholarship across the social sciences, humanities and computing, the author argues for research aimed at tracing the differences within specific sociomaterial arrangements without resorting to essentialist divides. This requires expanding our unit of analysis, while recognizing the inevitable cuts or boundaries through which technological systems are constituted.


Philip E. Agree

Computation and Human Experience

Cambridge University Press, 1997

This book offers a critical reconstruction of the fundamental ideas and methods in artificial intelligence (AI) research. By paying close attention to the metaphors of AI and their consequences for the field’s patterns of success and failure, it argues for a reorientation of the field away from thought and toward activity. By considering computational ideas in a large, philosophical framework, the author eases critical dialogue between technology and the social sciences. AI can benefit from an understanding of the field in relation to human nature, and in return, it offers a powerful mode of investigation into the practicalities of physical realization.

Sensing System –


David Rokeby – Very Nervous System – camera/eye


the notion of Authored Relationality [if (some behavior)/then [computational reaction]


The Soul Gained and Lost:
Artificial Intelligence as a Philosophical Project

Philip E. Agre
Department of Information Studies
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California 90095-1520

This paper appeared in a slightly different form in a special issue of the Stanford Humanities Review, entitled “Constructions of the Mind: Artificial Intelligence and the Humanities”, edited by Guven Guzeldere and Stefano Franchi. The official citation is Stanford Humanities Review 4(2), 1995, pages 1-19.


From PreHistoric Interfaces to NearFuture Interactions

Soke Dinkla (early art interfaces)1994

Affordance Theory (J. J. Gibson)

American psychologist James Jerome Gibson was influential in changing the way we consider visual perception. According to his theory, perception of the environment inevitably leads to some course of action. Affordances, or clues in the environment that indicate possibilities for action, are perceived in a direct, immediate way with no sensory processing. Examples include: buttons for pushing, knobs for turning, handles for pulling, levers for sliding, etc.

Based upon Gestalt theories, Affordance Theory has various implications for design, human-computer interaction, ergonomics, visualization, etc. Some believe that good design makes affordances explicit.

For more information, see:

  • Gibson, J.J. (1977). The theory of affordances. In R. Shaw & J. Bransford (eds.), Perceiving, Acting and Knowing. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Gibson, J. J., The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979


Interesting Timline

Kurzweil, R. 1990. The Age Of Intelligent Machines. Cambridge: MIT Press


Related – of interest

Kelso, J. A. Scott, 1988. Dynamic Patterns, The Self-Organization of Brain and Behavior

A Bradford Book, MIT Press

Seaman, B., Pattern Flows | Hybrid Accretive Processes Informing Identity Construction,

Convergence Magazine, Winter, 2005


Winograd, T., and F. Flores. (1986). Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.


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