1 Condition of Instruction

1.1 English

  1. Experience

    Software is finding its way into ever more workplaces, and has been for some time. Think about how you work with computer technology. How would you describe your relationship with these tools? Rank order the following items by how well they express your relationship to technology, as you experience it today.

  2. Vision

    There are some advances in machine learning, cloud computing and distributed systems that may affect how we work. Think about how you would like to work with such technology. How would you describe your desired future use of these tools? Rank order the following items by how well they describe your vision.

1.2 German

  1. Erfahrung

    Seit einiger Zeit ziehen Computer immer tiefer in die Arbeitswelt ein. Denken Sie daran, wie Sie mit moderner Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie (IKT) arbeiten. Wie würden Sie ihr Verhältnis zu diesen Werkzeugen beschreiben? Sortieren Sie die folgenden Aussagen in der Reihenfolge wie gut sie ihre Erfahrungen beschreiben.

  2. Vision

    Fortschritte in maschinellen Lernen, cloud computing und dezentralen Systemen werden vielleicht unsere Arbeitsweise weiter ändern. Denken Sie daran, wie Sie gern mit solcher Technologie arbeiten würden. Wie würden Sie ein ideales Verhältnis zu solchen Werkzeugen beschreiben? Sortieren Sie die follgenden Aussagen in der Reihenfolge wie gut sie ihre Wünsche beschreiben.

2 Draft Items

2.1 Criteria for Good Items

  • Items should be statements on which reasonable people can disagree. An item that is formulated in a skewed fashion, or otherwise unlikely to illicit differential responses is a waste of participants time, because it cannot create any (co)variance.
  • Items should not be falsifiable, in the broadest sense. Items which depend on factual contexts, are, or will in the future become falsifiable are not great items. An ipsative measurement of such statements does not make much sense, and it is also not suited to capture subjectivity. Good items are often about axiological or ontological foundations.
  • Items should be truthful (in terms of Habermas (1988)), and should strive to meet a discourse ethics of communicative action. Items which merely replicate popular “discourse” – that is, narrowly, speech distorted by power – are not appropriate.
  • Items may be remedial. For some statements, it may be necessary to briefly explain concepts, which participants may be otherwise unfamiliar with. Participants may still sort some items as meaningless (in the relative middle of the distribution), but everyone should be able to comprehend every item.
handle english german source
embodied_cognition Humans survive by learning to interact with their physical environment, in an organic body. Artificial intelligence remains limited and alien to this human intelligence. Menschen lernen durch das Überleben in einer physischen Welt, mit einem organischen Körper. Im Vergleich zu dieser menschlichen Intelligenz ist künstliche Intelligenz fremdartig und begrenzt. see MacFarquhar (2018)
extended_mind The tools we use, be they clay tablet, slide rule or computer are not separate from, but extensions to our minds. For example, if you heavily rely on an intricate to-do list in your phone, it shapes how you think and plan your day, and it becomes part of your mind. Unsere Werkzeuge, ob Tontafel, Rechenschieber oder Computer sind nicht einfach nur Gegenstände, sondern Erweiterungen unseres Geistes. Wenn man zum Beispiel intensiv eine Aufgabenliste auf einem Smartphone benutzt, dann formt das wie man denkt und den Tag plant und wird schließlich Teil des Geistes. Clark and Chalmers (1998)
no_work All this modern technology is leading us to ‘a society of workers that we will deliver from the chains of work and this company knows nothing of business higher and more rewarding for which it would be worthwhile to gain this freedom’. Mit so viel moderner Technik leben wir in einer ‘Arbeitsgesellschaft, der die Arbeit ausgegangen ist, also die einzige Tätigkeit, auf die sie sich noch versteht’. Arendt (1958)
enough_work Es wird immer genug Arbeit geben, die Arbeit wird nur anders werden. Computer sind nur eine neue Technologie wie viele andere vorher auch. There will always be enough work for everyone, the work will just change. Computers are a new technology much like many other previously new technologies. NA
scot Technological inventions do not really determine how we work with them. What matters is how relevant groups see these innovations, and how they shape their use. For example, some groups may see cloud computing as a cost-cutting measure, while others may think of it as lowering entries for hobbyists and enthusiasts. The implementations may differ accordingly. see e.g. Pinch and Bijker (1984) as cited in Evers et al. (2018)
lpt Technologies are often designed and deployed according to the interests and ideas of management and owners For example, when an electronic inventory system is introduced, there is always a great emphasis on avoiding and detecting employee mistakes, but not much thought is given to how such systems might stress out workers. see e.g. Noble (1978) as cited in Evers et al. (2018)
reason Computer technology is just the application of human reason turned into a machine. For example, if we have figured out precisely how to efficiently stack a warehouse, it is only reasonable to let computers take over. see Marx as cited in Schmiede (2016): 38
useless ‘The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.’ Marx (1844)
animal_laborans Technology isolates us from the social consequences of our work, and makes us into mindless workers. For example, when you are working with a big statistical model, the work may be technically exciting, but it is easy to forget the ethical implications and the lived realities behind the numbers. Arendt1958; also see Sennett (2009) and Schmiede (2016)
homo_faber Modern technology frees us to from the drugery of routine work, so we can become more conscientious and concentrate on the consequences of, and alternatives to our work. For example, if you use automatised data entry and retrieval, you can run more critical analyses, perhaps uncovering previously hidden problems or injustices. Arendt1958; also see Sennett (2009) and Schmiede (2016)
eating_the_world Software is really eating the world, and code is becoming the primary cultural artefact of our time.Every industry, every business problem and every market is being transformed into software.For example, individual transport is now primarily a software problem: getting a car to the right place, at the right time, at the right price. Andreessen (2016)

3 Origin of the term ‘denkzeug’

‘denkzeug’ is a portmanteau, comprised of the german word for thinking (= ‘denken’) and tool (= ‘Werkzeug’), translating to thinktool.

It appears to have been introduced into the scientific debate by Haefner, Eichmann, and Hinze (1987) in their eponymous volume, advocating for, and suggesting strategies for early computer science education. As a ontological term to highlight the increasingly close extension (or instantiation) of human faculties by computers, it appears to have been first used by Krämer (1997), in terms forshadowing the much later “Extended Mind” thesis (Clark and Chalmers 1998).


Andreessen, Marc. 2016. “Why Software Is Eating the World.” Andreessen Horowitz.

Arendt, Hannah. 1958. The Human Condition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Clark, Andy, and David Chalmers. 1998. “The Extended Mind.” Analysis 58 (1): 7–19. doi:10.1111/1467-8284.00096.

Habermas, Jürgen. 1988. Theorie Des Kommunikativen Handelns. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp.

Haefner, Klaus, Ernst H. Eichmann, and Claudia Hinze. 1987. Denkzeuge: Was Leistet Der Computer?; Was Mu\(\backslash\)s S Der Mensch Selbst Tun? Birkhäuser.

Krämer, Sybille. 1997. “Werkzeug Denkzeug Spielzeug. Zehn Thesen über unseren Umgang mit Computern.” In Informatik und Lernen in der Informationsgesellschaft, edited by Heinz Ulrich Hoppe and Wolfram Luther, 7–13. Informatik aktuell. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

MacFarquhar, Larissa. 2018. “The Mind-Expanding Ideas of Andy Clark,” March.

Marx, Karl. 1844. Öokonomisch-Philosophische Manuskripte.

Noble, David F. 1978. “Social Choice in Machine Design: The Case of Automatically Controlled Machine Tools, and a Challenge for Labor.” Politics & Society 8 (3-4): 313–47. doi:10.1177/003232927800800302.

Pinch, Trevor J., and Wiebe E. Bijker. 1984. “The Social Construction of Facts and Artefacts: Or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology Might Benefit Each Other.” Social Studies of Science 14 (3): 399–441. doi:10.1177/030631284014003004.

Schmiede, Rudi. 2016. “Animal laborans digitalis oder homo faber digitalis? Sozialstruktur, Arbeit und Organisation in der Wirtschaft 4.0.” In, edited by Hermann-Josef Blanke and Gerald Grusser, 2/2016:22–33.

Sennett, Richard. 2009. The Craftsman. New Haven: YALE UNIV PR.