[fa.arms-d] Arms-Discussion Digest V2 #71

arms-d@ucbvax.ARPA (11/06/84)

From: Moderator <ARMS-D@MIT-MC.ARPA>

Arms-Discussion Digest Volume 2 : Issue 71
Today's Topics:

	Consciousness game (4 msgs)
	Social Impacts of Computing: Graduate Study at UC-Irvine


Date: 3 November 1984 14:50-EST
From: Oded Anoaf Feingold <OAF @ MIT-MC>
Subject:  bhlunhtness

There's another clause in the constitution about freedom of speech (and
press).  Of course, that's just an amendment, and we know that nine of
the first ten were mistakes, and should have been rescinded long ago.


PS: I speak from imperfect memory fo the "conscious" game, and some
unwillingness to reread it lest I be tempted to temper my flame.  But
may I mention in passing that the American public has (at least
theoretically) learned to sift the "information" it receives.  People
in more information--controlled societies do not, and believe in and
react to fairly outlandish propositions (by our standards.)  Hence the
sword cuts both ways.


Date:  3 Nov 1984 1200-PST
From: Rob-Kling <Kling%UCI-20B@UCI-750a>
Subject: Social Impacts of Computing: Graduate Study at UC-Irvine
To: arms-d@MIT-MC



                        Graduate Education in

            Computing, Organizations, Policy, and Society

               at the University of California, Irvine

     This graduate concentration at the University of California,
Irvine provides an opportunity for scholars and students to
investigate the social dimensions of computerization in a setting
which supports reflective and sustained inquiry.

     The primary educational opportunities are PhD concentrations in
the Department of Information and Computer Science (ICS) and MS and
PhD concentrations in the Graduate School of Management (GSM).
Students in each concentration can specialize in studying the social
dimensions of computing.

     The faculty at Irvine have been active in this area, with many
interdisciplinary projects, since the early 1970's.  The faculty and
students in the CORPS have approached them with methods drawn from the
social sciences.

     The CORPS concentration focuses upon four related areas of

 1.  Examining the social consequences of different kinds of
     computerization on social life in organizations and in the larger

 2.  Examining the social dimensions of the work and organizational
     worlds in which computer technologies are developed, marketed,
     disseminated, deployed, and sustained.

 3.  Evaluating the effectiveness of strategies for managing the
     deployment and use of computer-based technologies.

 4.  Evaluating and proposing public policies which facilitate the
     development and use of computing in pro-social ways.

     Studies of these questions have focussed on complex information
systems, computer-based modelling, decision-support systems, the
myriad forms of office automation, electronic funds transfer systems,
expert systems, instructional computing, personal computers, automated
command and control systems, and computing at home.  The questions
vary from study to study.  They have included questions about the
effectiveness of these technologies, effective ways to manage them,
the social choices that they open or close off, the kind of social and
cultural life that develops around them, their political consequences,
and their social carrying costs.

     CORPS studies at Irvine have a distinctive orientation -

(i) in focussing on both public and private sectors,

(ii) in examining computerization in public life as well as within

(iii) by examining advanced and common computer-based technologies "in
      vivo" in ordinary settings, and

(iv) by employing analytical methods drawn from the social sciences.

         Organizational Arrangements and Admissions for CORPS

     The CORPS concentration is a special track within the normal
graduate degree programs of ICS and GSM.  Admission requirements for
this concentration are the same as for students who apply for a PhD in
ICS or an MS or PhD in GSM.  Students with varying backgrounds are
encouraged to apply for the PhD programs if they show strong research

     The seven primary faculty in the CORPS concentration hold
appointments in the Department of Information and Computer Science and
the Graduate School of Management.  Additional faculty in the School
of Social Sciences, and the program on Social Ecology, have
collaborated in research or have taught key courses for CORPS
students.  Research is administered through an interdisciplinary
research institute at UCI which is part of the Graduate Division, the
Public Policy Research Organization.

Students who wish additional information about the CORPS concentration
should write to:

          Professor Rob Kling (Kling@uci)
          Department of Information and Computer Science
          University of California, Irvine
          Irvine, Ca. 92717
          714-856-5955 or 856-7403

                                or to:

          Professor Kenneth Kraemer (Kraemer@uci)
          Graduate School of Management
          University of California, Irvine
          Irvine, Ca. 92717


Date:  4-Nov-84 20:09 PST
From: Kirk Kelley  <KIRK.TYM@OFFICE-2.ARPA>
Subject: Re: the Conscious game
To: sde@Mitre-Bedford

From: sde@Mitre-Bedford

   Brilliant satire of a leftist mind at work.

    ... what has been suggested is the deliberate creation of a variety of 
   information disease ... psychological warfare.

   If I wanted to be really blunt, which I do, I therefore would remark that 
   there is a clause in the U.S. constitution about 'levying war' against the 

First of all, thanks for your complement on my satirical abilities (though I 
must concede they pale next to yours :-).

Secondly, you seem to agree that playing the Conscious game would reduce a 
culture's motivation to sustain the military-industrial complex and the arms 
race.  Your complaint seems to be based on the assumption that the most viable 
way of life for a free culture (coevolving with centrally controlled censoring 
cultures) is via its military industrial complex and the arms race.

This is my fault for not making it clear that playing the Conscious game would 
never reduce a culture's need for the military-industrial complex and the arms 
race without first providing a more viable way of life for the culture.  I 
believe this eliminates the grounds for your complaint.  I see no argument here 
anyway against the Conscious game per se.  Indeed, I think the Conscious game 
would make an ideal environment in which to present your case against all the 
other proposals that claim to increase our viability. 

As a collaborated simulation of its own lifetime that quickly becomes concerned 
with the viability of its environment, the Conscious game creates a form of 
augmented viability consciousness.  I'm sure you do not wish to claim that free 
cultures with an augmented viability consciousness would be less viable than 
unaugmented centrally controlled censoring cultures.  If the Conscious game 
simulated centrally controlled censoring cultures (like the DoD?) as more
than free cultures, I would be among the most surprised and would immediately 
join in looking for flaws in the model.

A more interesting question is the notion expressed by Crummer that there is no 
technological solution to the arms race.  If a solution requires a change in
attitudes and habits, the allegorical adventures spun from the Conscious game 
would be without a doubt the most effective medium of learning those changes.  
As scientists and engineers in the throws of creating technologies, we have a 
responsibility to see at least that our efforts increase our viability rather 
than decrease it.  In as much as playing the Conscious game (and hence 
developing that technology) would help us evaluate our efforts and learn about 
potentially more viable alternatives, it is not only professionally 
irresponsible but down right suicidal not to play.

Now, if only the proponents of these arguments would identify mathematically
basic relationships that could implement their proposals in the Conscious model 

 -- kirk


Date:  5-Nov-84 21:31 PST
From: Kirk Kelley  <KIRK.TYM@OFFICE-2.ARPA>
Subject: Re: The Conscious game
To: arms-d@mit-mc

From a comment:

   To play, people would need to have computers and a knowledge of what they're 
   doing.  Both items are in short supply.  To play seriously, they would need 
   to neglect major parts of their present lives.  What chance does a game have 
   to pull people that hard?

   Define fun!  Sounds just silly and pointless to me.  What does Joe Blow care 
   how long a program lives?

Good points.  I'm sorry they were not properly addressed before.  I could
some design examples, but I'll just paint a general picture. 

In one Conscious model, the Conscious game teaches players how to do modeling 
and simulation using whatever environments implement it.  Players are 
compensated every time another player uses something they contributed.  Thus it 
becomes a vocation for many not unlike the jobs for programmers that have grown 
up around the personal computer technology.  Each so employed individual does 
what ever they can to make sure that as many people as possible have the 
necessary technology to play.  Even if it means giving every grade school in
third world several flat Macs and beginning playing credits sort of like blade 
and film manufacturors give away razors and cameras.  Especially if simulations 
of such behavior in the Conscious game result in higher scores.

I do not expect most uses of the resulting on-line service economy technology 
would be centered around the conscious game.  Nonetheless, I'm sure you'll
that many silly and pointless activities are enjoyable for their own sake (and 
hence, fun).  Take MacPaint for example.  Or visit any video arcade.  Or play a 
few adventures from Infocom.  Imagine allegories for the Conscious game at
as creative as any of these.

 -- kirk

[End of ARMS-D Digest]