Class 11: Many Inputs, Only One Possible Output

As I articulated in class, much of Douglas Rushkof’s argument in Program or Be Programmed relies on an ontology of the digital technology. He outlines the way that digital technology works and how it operates in different way from what humans can accomplish.

For instance, a computer is based on inputs and outputs, or I/O to use the jargon of computing. Gone are the days of a single programmer typing into a terminal as the computer’s sole input. Computer networks have made the number of possible inputs much greater than it used to be, just consider the number of people on the Internet. We as humans can accept a much smaller number of inputs than a computer. How many inputs can we handle? Just one!

The books filled with ontological arguments that, if you understand the nature of computing and digital communication, allows us to understand the rather limited capability of computers. As I said in class, computers are exceptionally dumb…but they’re incredibly fast.

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