The Transformation of Information

In the Great Principles of Computing, Denning describes the three waves of computing, 1) a science of the artificial (1967), 2) programming (1970s), 3) the automation of information processes in engineering (1983).  Yet, it was not entirely clear if it was described what wave of computing we are currently in, and,  if it was not described, how might we describe it? Furthermore, there were several terms used which were not explained in sufficient detail, such as “batch processing” and “cryptography,” which seem to play important roles in computing. 

In Machine Learning, Alpaydin explains how systems are still outdone by humans as far as recognizing handwritten language. (Alpaydin 58) However, there are handwriting recognition programs which will likely make “Captchas” obsolete in the coming years. (Burgess 2017) Additionally, the battle being waged between spam filtering and spam emails is representative of an even greater war transpiring in social media platforms to prevent bot herding. (Alpaydin 16) While social media platforms utilize machine learning to extract trending topics and collect data on user habits, certain trends are being cultivated by the same forms of machine learning, coupled with bot herding (and other methods), to create what is known as “computational propaganda.” (Computational Propaganda  2021) While much research is still being done to determine what exactly constitutes computational propaganda, it is believed to have been present in social media for almost a decade. (Computational Propaganda  2021) 

Kelleher explains how deep learning was the key to unlocking big data, but also explains its potential for harming individual privacy and civil liberties. (Kelleher 35) Computational propaganda – which has the capability to impact civil liberties – is likely a side effect of deep learning, but can also be mitigated by the same deep learning which enables it.  Furthermore, Deep Learning describes why the development of a computer system capable of competing against expert players in the board game, “Go,” was so far behind DeepBlue (the chess system). Nevertheless, what was perplexing to me, was the reasoning behind Kelleher’s explanation, for example, where Chess has fewer options, but is more complex; Go has much simpler rules with many more board layouts. One might assume the simpler Go game would be easier to develop a computer system for, but the opposite is actually true.  


Alpaydin, E. (2016). Machine learning: The new AI. MIT Press.

Burgess, M. (2017, October 26). Captcha is dying. This is how it’s being reinvented for the AI age. Wired UK.

Computational propaganda . (n.d.). The Project on Computational Propaganda. Retrieved February 8, 2021, from

Denning, P. J., & Martell, C. H. (2015). Great principles of computing. The MIT Press.

Kelleher, J. D. (2019). Deep learning. The MIT Press.