What matters in understanding digital media? Is looking at the external
appearance and audience experience of software enough--or should we look further? In
Expressive Processing, Noah Wardrip-Fruin argues that
understanding what goes on beneath the surface, the computational processes that
make digital media function, is essential.
Wardrip-Fruin looks at
"expressive processing" by examining specific works of digital media
ranging from the simulated therapist Eliza to the complex
city-planning game SimCity. Digital media, he contends, offer
particularly intelligible examples of things we need to understand about software in
general; if we understand, for instance, the capabilities and histories of
artificial intelligence techniques in the context of a computer game, we can use
that understanding to judge the use of similar techniques in such higher-stakes
social contexts as surveillance.