The transformative computer and the play of mind

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1992
Authors
Macdonald, Colin G.R.
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Abstract
This study presents a broad-based conceptual analysis of human-computer interactions from the perspective of play and transformation. Examples of computer play and transformation are provided from art, science, simulation, virtual reality, and education. The spirit of play is an especially fitting and heuristic conceptualization to adopt in reflecting upon the use of computers. The computer can then be seen as an instrument that allows for free movement within mental playing fields that have no fixed boundaries: here, multiple, hybrid, even "inconceivable" games may be played and alternate realities may be explored. The computer is a device like no other-s-one that acts as a new kind of psychological mirror, a metaphoric, electronic Rorschach inkblot for the user. The computer can simulate any medium-real or otherwise-that we can imagine, and like all media, it not only shapes the world but also shapes the user in a process of continual interaction. Paradoxically, the computer's lack of character is its essential characteristic; its characterlessness, the source of its transformative power. As a metamedium, the computer's representational and functional abilities are without precedent, influencing not only our perception of the computer, but also our perception of ourselves. If we consciously enter into our interactions with computers, the transformative effects made possible through the mutual play of mind and computer will dramatically affect the future of our society.
Description
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1992.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 144-174)
Microfiche.
xvi, 202 leaves, bound ill. (some col.) 29 cm
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Psychology; no. 2726
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