Philosophy and Technology – Aristotle and the Xerox Star
Throughout history, philosophers and theologians have sought advice from Aristotle. His writings have served many ethical justifications and continue to exert an influence in philosophical debate.
Many people feel that nature is in danger of becoming extinct. In Aristotle’s view, every entity strives towards a proper place in the world. He uses this as the premise for his argument. He argues that the right attitude will lead to desirable results.
He distinguishes between five modes of knowing. His most famous passage is from the second book of Physica. It is “technology imitates nature” and it presupposes an analogy. He claims that heat works in an animal body and in an artificial vessel.
Aristotle also distinguishes between materials and forms, and he does not use a distinction between natural and artificial substances. He says that if a material object is unsupported, it moves downward because that is the natural location of the material object.
Likewise, Aristotle argues that architects are guided by aims. He uses the example of Democritos to give a historical account of technological inventions. He claims that the first invention of house building was through imitating swallows building nests.
In the same book, Aristotle argues that there is no difference between chemical products and natural products. His concept of techne is similar to the concept of techne found in Plato’s Republic.
Xerox Star was the first computer to have a graphical user interface. It also prompted a flurry of activity involving bulletin boards and chats. This may have been a coincidence, but it was an interesting one.
Unlike its predecessor, the Xerox Star grew to become an online learning program, linking users beyond the Loomis Laboratory. In the process, a slew of other companies began evaluating its software.
The Xerox Star was a grandiose feat of technological wizardry, but there’s no question that the Plato software program has achieved something close to the feat. In fact, it is scheduled to tape out an ASIC design using seven million gates, a feat that took many companies years to achieve on their own.
It’s also worth noting that Plato was able to secure a coveted place on the prestigious list of “Teens of the Future,” a competition sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The organization is made up of some of the world’s largest and most forward-thinking technology companies.
A recent press release from Plato stated that it has partnered with some of the biggest names in the semiconductor industry, namely Synopsys and Cadence. Plato will also exhibit its wares at the upcoming Design Automation Conference. The company also plans to become a participant in the venerable Synopsys in-Sync program, a group dedicated to promoting open innovation among the industry’s hottest new companies.