Squared Outline: Symbolic Systems

“Computer systems, robots, and people are all examples of symbolic systems, agents that use meaningful symbols to represent the world around them so as to communicate and generally act in the world,”

 (Stanford University’s Symbolic Systems Program)

Symbolic Representations Are Concrete Objects (Albert) 

Most of misconceptions about IT systems can be corrected with a proper understanding of symbolic representations:

  1. Symbolic objects are concrete objects pointing to objects (concrete or otherwise), agents (physical or social), or phenomena.
  2. Symbolic representations are symbolic objects built on purpose (artefacts) as to stand for their counterpart.
  3. Surrogates are symbolic representations meant to reflect the state of their counterpart in domains.
  4. Systems are containers used to manage surrogates.

These four simple tenets can be used as the pillars and the wheels of the whole discipline.


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