In their societal impact, computers have grown way beyond their roots in mathematics and logic. Their ubiquity since the late 20th century has increased the number and impact of several of the original questions raised by early computer scientists and practitioners: questions about their expected and intended behaviour, as Alan Turing did when asking whether machines can think; questions about their ontology, as John von Neumann did when asking what the computer and the human brain have in common; questions about their role in performing human tasks, as Norbert Wiener did when asking whether automatic translation is possible. With new technologies, the need for rethinking formal and technological issues is crucial.
The computerisation of our lives can hardly leave anyone without opinion. HaPoC’s appeal to historical and philosophical reflection is an invitation to all: designers and manufacturers, computer practitioners, users and artists, logicians and mathematicians, and with the increasing ubiquity of the machine every citizen, with her own experience of the computer.
HaPoC conferences aim to bring together researchers exploring the various aspects of the computer from historical or philosophical standpoint. With Nathan Ensmenger we may say that facts do not change, but our understanding of them does.
The series aims at an interdisciplinary focus on computing, rooted in historical and philosophical viewpoints. The conference brings together researchers interested in the historical developments of computing, as well as those reflecting on the sociological and philosophical issues springing from the rise and ubiquity of computing machines in the contemporary landscape. Past editions of the conference have successfully presented a variety of voices, resulting in fruitful dialogue between researchers of different backgrounds and characteristics. Celebrating the revolutionary exhibition Computer Graphic held in Brno in the spring of 1968, HaPoC emphatically extends the invitation to its fourth international conference to reflections on computers and art.
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For more information on the mission of HaPoC and the HaPoC commission, please consult