OCAD University Open Research Repository

Cognitive artifacts in complex work

Jones, Peter and Nemeth, Christopher P. (2005) Cognitive artifacts in complex work. In: Ambient Intelligence for Scientific Discovery. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (3345). Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 152-183. ISBN 978-3-540-24466-0 978-3-540-32263-4

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Official URL: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-540...


The Indian folk tale recorded in the well-known John Saxe poem tells of six blind men, each grabbing a different part of an elephant, and describing their impression of the whole beast from a single part’s perspective. So the elephant appears to each blind man to be like a snake, a fan, a tree, a rope, a wall, a spear. As the poem concludes:
“And so these men of Indostan, Disputed loud and long, Each in his own opinion, exceeding stiff and strong. Though each was partly right, All were in the wrong.”
Although this tale suggests a general metaphor for poor collaboration and social coordination, the insinuation of blindness indicates an inability to share the common information that is normally available through visual perception. When fundamental cognitive resources such as shared information or visual cues are missing, collaborative work practices may suffer from the “anti-cognition” suggested by the elephant metaphor. When individuals believe they are contributing to the whole, but are unable to verify the models that are held by other participants, continued progress might founder. We may find such “blind men” situations when organizations value and prefer independent individual cognition at the expense of supporting whole system coordination. Blindness to shared effects is practically ensured when those who work together are not able to share information.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-32263-4_8
Uncontrolled Keywords: Artificial Intelligence (incl. Robotics), Computer Communication Networks, Computer Graphics, Database Management, Information Systems Applications (incl. Internet), User Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction
Divisions: Faculty of Design
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2016 19:20
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2021 08:42
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/1056

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