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The Labyrinths of Information: Challenging the Wisdom of Systems. CCiborra (2004), pp. 154-155

November 3, 2012

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“In one word, the prevailing cognitive study of improvisation concludes that any entity that can reasonably be thought of as planning or executing action can also be thought of as improvising. But, if improvisation is just quick problem solving that takes into account emerging circumstances by some sort of ongoing feedback on the very design of the action being undertaken, then the critique of Vera and Simon (1993) to the whole situated action paradigm applies to it too. The latter authors ask, ‘what’s new, or so special?’ In principle, when reconstructing improvised decision making, symbolic representations of the ongoing problem space can be drawn, algorithms can be identified, problem solving programmes can be written, which include the stuff of which AI is made: plans; if-then-elses; means-ends chains etc. But, once improvisation gets analysed as quick design and simultaneous implementation of plans of action, factoring early feedback from execution, where has its magic gone? Can such an analysis offer anything new or alternative to the prevailing managerial and systems models that put at the centre of their discourse information, knowledge modelling, and planning?”

[op. cit., pp. 154-155]
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