Re: Personification of gadgets and *software routines*

Subject: Re: Personification of gadgets and *software routines*
From: Mike McGraw <mmcgraw -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 17:08:14 -0800

We try so hard to create intelligent systems and then we deny them a little bit of life.  <sigh>

At 05:06 PM 3/23/99 -0700, you wrote:
>"To fire the triac pulse at the proper time, the ASP driver must know
>which phase powers each lamp block."
>Does anyone have general suggestions on avoiding personification? How
>hard should I try?
>Lauren Merritt

My answer is: don't try so hard.  I see a lot of this in my work (documenting embedded systems) and finally decided that describing functional blocks as though they have some level of intelligence isn't really a sin.  After all, the object-oriented model of software construction mandates that:

Ray Kurzweil, in his new book _The Age of Spiritual Machines: when computers exceed human intelligence_ claims that the day we create a machine (will we still call it a computer?) more intelligent than a human is not far off.  And he claims that the way we define humanity may well have to change as a result of that evolution.

So don't worry about personifying small functions like the triac ASP driver.  Just make sure it's got a technical manual that tells it when to fire...and, maybe take it out for pizza now and then just for a change of pace. <grin>

Mike McGraw   office: AA-240C, phone: x58048

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