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The Seductive Computer

Why IT Systems Always Fail

By Derek Partridge

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IT systems often go over budget, overrun production deadlines and then fail to work properly. This book argues that the fundamental nature of programming technology itself is the real culprit; it promises perfection but can only deliver emergent chaos.  

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  • ISBN13: 978-1-8499-6497-5
  • 340 Pages
  • User Level: Professionals
  • Publication Date: October 28, 2010
  • Available eBook Formats: PDF
Full Description
IT systems explode budget estimates, bust production deadlines by years, and then fail to work properly. Why this IT-system crisis? Poor programmers? Inadequate project management? No. The Seductive Computer argues that the fundamental nature of programming technology itself is the real culprit; it promises perfection but can only deliver emergent chaos. It is also an insidiously compelling technology, peculiarly male oriented. IT systems, an unavoidable and increasing reality in all our lives, are something new to man - large-scale discrete complexity. The Seductive Computer explains this novelty that defies human understanding. This book illustrates in a simple yet thorough manner the underlying concepts necessary for understanding the IT-system crisis - not ‘How To Program’ but what the demands of programming are. It then proceeds to lay out the full gamut of issues - all stemming from the nature of the technology. From development to maintenance IT-system personnel are grappling with incipient chaos. The technicians are seduced by the detailed challenge of the technology. The scientists are seduced by the promises of their technology. The managers and users are seduced by the mysteries of the technology. No IT system is ever fully understood by anyone, so surprising behaviours will always emerge. What can be done? We must rein in our expectations of IT systems: what they can do, and how reliably they can do it. On the positive side, The Seductive Computer discusses novel paradigms that look beyond the current discrete technology: neural computing and precise approximation computing.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

  1. Preface.
  2. 1. Introduction.
  3. I The Joy Of Programming.
  4. 2. The Happy Hacker: Love At First Byte.
  5. 3. The Reluctant Programmer.
  6. 4. Cooking Up Programs.
  7. 5. Recipes For What?.
  8. 6. Programs: The Good, The Bad And The Verified.
  9. 7. Going To Ground With Symbols.
  10. 8. Hooptedoodle 1
  11. The Proof Of The Pudding Is In The Science.
  12. 9. The Soft Machine.
  13. 10. Computers Only Do What You Tell Them To Do.
  14. 11. Hooptedoodle 2
  15. Recursing Through Tescos.
  16. II The Way Of The Seducer.
  17. 12. Intimate Relationships Of The Computational Kind.
  18. 13. Programming With Flair.
  19. 14. Hooptedoodle 3
  20. The Seductive Gene.
  21. 15. Runaway Programs
  22. Dr Frankenstein’s Predicament.
  23. 16. Sneakaway Programs
  24. Everybody’s Predicament.
  25. 17. Hooptedoodle 4
  26. Bases For Data Security.
  27. 18. The Roles Of Software In Society.
  28. III Pieces Of Resistance.
  29. 19. Help From Within.
  30. 20. A Moderately Stupid Assistant.
  31. 21. Watching Programs Work
  32. Support For Voyeurism.
  33. 22. Classical Reconditioning: Doing What Happens Naturally.
  34. 23. A Computer That Knows When It’s Wrong.
  35. IV The End Of The Affair.
  36. 24. Analysis & Counselling.
  37. 25.Epilogic.

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