The Barefoot Expert

The Barefoot Expert : The Interface of Computerized Knowledge Systems and Indigenous Knowledge Systems

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It may seem a strange match--AI and crop irrigation or AI and the Serengeti lions but researchers in Artifical Intelligence envision expert systems as a new technology for capturing the knowledge and reasoning process of experts in agriculture, wildlife management, and many other fields. These computer programs have a relevance for developing nations that desire to close the gap between themselves and the richer nations of the world. Despite the value and appeal of expert systems for economic and technological development, Schoenhoff discloses how this technology reflects the Western preoccupation with literacy and rationality. When expert systems are introduced into developing nations, they must interact with persons who reason and articulate their knowledge in ways unfamiliar to high-tech cultures. Knowledge, particularly in poor and and traditional communities, may be expressed in proverbs rather than propositions or in folklore rather than formulas. Drawing upon diverse disicplines, the author explores whether such indigenous knowledge can be incorporated into the formal language and artificial rationality of the computer-and the imperative for working toward this incorporation.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 200 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 16mm | 467.2g
  • Praeger Publishers Inc
  • Westport, United States
  • English
  • 0313288216
  • 9780313288210

Table of contents

Foreword Acknowledgments Introduction Science under the Microscope The Downside of Definition Human Passages: Toward a New Theory of Development Wanted: Experts for Third World Development, Thirty-Five Megabytes of Experience Required Knowledge, Wisdon, and Computers Cum Laude A Cage for Reason: The Formalities of Knowledge The Limits of Logic: Folk Knowledge and Fuzz The Wound of Knowledge Bibliography Index
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Review quote

"In this slim, nontechnical, very well-written, and thought-provoking book, Schoenhoff explores the possibility and desirability of using computerized expert systems in the Third World (or, the South) of developing, non-Western countries. . . . As it is so brief and so cogent, this work is recommended highly for libraries to bring a broader human perspective to the currently 'hot' subject of expert systems. All levels." - Choice
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About Doris M. Schoenhoff

Doris M. Schoenhoff has an interdisciplinary PhD focusing on Artifical Intelligence and international development and has traveled worldwide as a computer software specialist.
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