In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By witness
Words 5440
Pages 22
Basic Object-Oriented Concepts
How People Understand Technology
There is an old story of how several blind men set out to understand what an elephant was by examining a live specimen. Each of them explored a different part of the elephant's body. One blind man, falling against the elephant's side, proclaimed that an elephant must be very much like a wall. Another, grasping the elephant's ear, decided that an elephant must closely resemble a leaf. One grabbed the elephant's tail and determined that elephants must resemble ropes. Yet another felt the elephant's leg and came away convinced that elephants are very much like trees. Still another held the elephant's trunk and exclaimed that elephants had much in common with snakes.

While there was at least a grain of truth in each blind man's observation, none of them had a complete and accurate understanding of just what an elephant is. We can imagine the many animated debates that these blind men had when they compared notes -- each sure that the others must be wrong.
Often, people studying technology are like the blind men in our story. It is very common to focus intently on one facet of one aspect of a technology while ignoring the vast breadth of the same technology. There is nothing wrong with this -- unless a person studying the facet begins to think that he or she has somehow acquired a good grasp of the entire technology.
To acquire an in-depth understanding of a technology requires a great deal of research. The sheer bulk of material that must be examined is daunting. The task is further complicated by the unfortunate errors contained in many discussions. Even if an individual can assimilate a large quantity of material and easily identify any errors, there is still the process of analyzing what has been assimilated. To truly understand a technology, an individual must be able to recognize valid patterns,…...

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