CMNS 253W Lecture Notes - Webct, Raymond Williams, Semiconductor Device Fabrication
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Richard Smith: email@example.com
Cns253wfirstname.lastname@example.org | Cmns253wemail@example.com
Roy Bendor, Kate Milberry – D100 and Jean Debert – D200
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Why should we care? Changes to:
-educational experience (computers in school, ‘webCT’, etc)
-social life (on-line communities) & personal life (relationships, ‘you’ve got mail’, second life, etc)
-commercial life (e-commerce business to business transactions, etc)
-working life (finding jobs, moving jobs, computers in the workplace, etc.)
-consumer life (e-shopping)
-political life (
-information technology is:
-machines for manipulating and moving information
What is information?
-inform = ‘to give shape to’ – to what? Data.
-In a hierarchy from data to wisdom, information is data that is ‘endowed with relevance and purpose’
-Usually, it is calculated and communicated by computer; it is measured by the number of transactions or
exchanges (email messages, library searches, etc)
What is digital?
-we will go into ‘digital’ in more detail in week 4, when we talk about the fundamentals of computers, but for now,
let’s use this definition:
-When information is encoded in a series of biner (1 or 0, on or off, high or low) representations it is seaid to be
digital. Information has only two states in this world, but the real world is ‘continuously variable’ the continuously
variable world is often called the ‘analog’ world.
-There are a number of advantages of digital information, but it has t be converted to that form, and conveted
back again so that humans can use it
Back to Information
-‘a difference that makes a difference’ – Bateson
-Model of human understanding
-Pyramid with data at the bottom, information above, knowledge and then wisdom on top
- Bottom of the pyramid: facts of life: the existence of gravity, height, daughtesr name, GPA, etc.
- data has been organized somehow, selected and arranged according to particular purpose
- ‘a selection and arrangement of data combined for a conscious purpose.’ If human understanding is at the
top of the pyramid, then this gets us closer but not nearly to our goal
- perception and generally about the truth. Knowledge is also experienced, it cannot be just picked up from a
compilation of facts.
- knowledge seems to require something of the recipient; it is not embedded in the symbols
themselves [eg. Johnston, Johnston & Handa, 1996]
- fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and exper insight that provides a
framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in
the minds of knowers.
- knowledge exists in the mind of knowers
CMNS 253W – Introduction to Information Technology, page 1
Only pages 1-2 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.
- knowledge shades into the subtler issues like justice and self-awareness. The ability to not only take
action but to take the correct action
- Wisdom migh mean, for example, taking an action that doesn’t seem to emerge directly out of the
knowledge of current events but is based on a larger purpose, a sense of what is right in the situation. The
temporary sacrifices that people make for longer term goals reflect this kind of human understanding
How does data become information?
-it is contextualized - we know why the data was gathered (to meaure grades, etc)
-categorized – we know unites of analysis, the key components of the data (eg. Percentages, etc)
-calculated – there is some mathematical or statistical analysis (eg. Average grade is blablabl)
-corrected – errors have been removed (eg. Mistyping, etc )
-condensed – there are summaries (eg. Not the scores from every assignment, just the final score, etc)
How much information?
-how much information!!
-Cleaning up ‘information pollution’
Hwod does information become knowledge?
-Comparison: how does information about this situation compare to other situations we have been in?
-Consequenes: what implications does the information have for decisions an actions
-Connections: how does this bit of knowledge relate to others?
-Conversation: what do other people think about this information? [Davenport, 1998]
Data and information compared
Data: a set of discrete, objective facts about events. Data is/are STORED, measure the TOTAL
Information: data endowed with relevance and purpose. Information is COMMUNICATED, we measure
Points to ponder
-what can/should machines do in the pyramid?
-What role do machines play now?
-What can’t they do?
-What can they do?
-What roles will machines have in the future?
CMNS 253 – January 18, 2007
-eg. Langdon Winner
-technological change expresses a multiplicity of human motives, not the least of which is the desire of some to
have domination over others
-in the process in which structuring decisions are made about technology, different people are differently situated
and possess unequal degrees of power as well as unequal levels of awareness
-technology is political: the invention, design, or arrangement of a specific technical device becomes a way of
setting an issue in a particular community
-large-scale socio-technical systems demonstrate ‘momentum’ and hence-adaptation of human ends to technical
-there are instances in which the very process of technical development is so thoroughly biased in a particular
direction that it regularly produces results counted as wonderful breakthroughs by some social interests and
crushing setbacks by others
-action: to understand which technologies and which contexts are important to us, and why. To take political
action towards influencing the designs …
Critical constructivists – “under determined”
-Raymond Williams draws attention to:
CMNS 253W – Introduction to Information Technology, page 2
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