Anthropomorphism is bad because...

Subject: Anthropomorphism is bad because...
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2010 11:52:53 -0400


... during your formative years, somebody told you to avoid it?

But what actually is wrong/bad/evil/hurtful/crushingly-destructive-of-communication
to say that a complex computerized system "expects" a certain input or range of
inputs in a given situation? (... and gets miffed if you try to feed it
anything else....... ok, that's a bit extreme).

After all, it's been pretty much standard to talk about a
system "waiting" for input or "waiting" for a state change,
when that implies attention.

How about a system that "accepts" connection from current-model
XYZ devices and legacy devices back to version x.x.x.
Doesn't that imply judgement? It's entirely mechanical if
you are talking about connector physical characteristics,
but what if all systems and devices use the same connectors
they always did, but the current-model system detects newer
handshake protocols or certain cryptographic characteristics
in connected equipment and "accepts" or "rejects" on that
basis?

In complex systems and interactions, it's not uncommon to
encounter a "don't care" situation. Even phrasing that in
a way that lets you use "ignored" implies attention and choice.

It's all logic and bits and switches...until you find yourself
fighting with a reluctant piece of ! -at- #$%^&*!




Kevin McLauchlan
Senior Technical Writer
SafeNet, Inc.
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