Thesis ID: CBB162068697

Cyberdreams of the Information Age: Learning with Machines in the Cold War United States and the Soviet Union (2020)


Babintseva, Ekaterina Igorevna (Author)
Lindee, Susan M. (Advisor)

University of Pennsylvania
Lindee, Susan M.
Publication date: 2020
Language: English

Publication Date: 2020
Physical Details: 211

This dissertation examines the history of first American and Soviet teaching computers that were designed to deliver instruction to students and automate teaching. Specifically, I examine the history of the University of Illinois’ pedagogical computer PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) and the multiple projects of the Soviet Academy of Pedagogical Sciences and the Council on Cybernetics to produce a teaching machine comparable to the PLATO computer in 1959-1980. I use these pedagogical computer projects as an opportunity to explore ways in which engineers, computer scientists, psychologists, and educators co-operated to define human learning and make it accessible to computers. The prospect of building technology that would govern the acquisition of new knowledge generated debates about the character of learning, human creativity, and whether computers could be made to understand and control the ways our minds learn. It also prompted novel discourse about the place of techno-scientific knowledge and education in the era of mass automation in the United States and the Soviet Union. Paying close attention to the software of American and Soviet teaching computers, I track how the developers of this technology built their divergent beliefs about the human mind, creativity, learning, and computation into their teaching machines. In doing so, they created new theories of learning and formal systems of human cognition that circulated across the Iron Curtain.

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Authors & Contributors
Benjamin, Ruha
Brown, Kate
Burke, Colin
Castells, Manuel
Higuchi, Toshihiro
Hsu, Leo Lopung
The Bridge: Journal of the National Academy of Engineering
IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Technikgeschichte: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Technik und Industrie
Princeton University
Oxford University Press
New York University
Cornell University Press
New York University Press
Polity Press
Information technology
Technology and society
Cold War
Computers and computing
Nuclear weapons; atomic weapons
Science and war; science and the military
Time Periods
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
United States
Soviet Union
Great Britain
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; Partial Test Ban Treaty; Limited Test Ban Treaty (1963)

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