This biography was written to accompany a chapter I’m contributing to a book called 50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years – (for more about the book see call for chapters – sent out late 2016)
Pamela McLean has been exploring the relationship between people and digital technologies since the 1970s. Her interest was first attracted by a statement that said “computers do routine repetitive tasks”. At the time she was an infant teacher who enjoyed the creative aspects of helping young children to learn but found the routine aspects of her job tedious… It seemed that she and computers could be a perfect match for each other, if she could figure out how to form an effective alliance.
She understood that the best way forward was to get close up and personal to the technology. That meant doing her own systems analysis and then designing and writing her own programs. Fortunately micro-computers were just starting to come on the scene. She bought one, adapted her TV to use it as a monitor, hooked up her cassette recorder to provide the external memory and set out to explore and develop her new technology-human relationship.
The computer programs she wrote were based on genuine need. Working on their development helped her to understand what was best done by the technology, what was best done by humans, and how they might work together.
Thus began a long-term investigation involving practical experimentation, reflection, and connections with other people who shared her interests. In the intervening years her life has gone in many directions, and the available digital technology has changed beyond her wildest imaginings. Her fascination with the relationship between people and digital technologies has remained constant.