“It made him smile.  Someone had invented this thing.  It could have been him.  He knew where you could download vision-system libraries, and force-feedback libraries.  He knew where you could get plans for the robotics, and off-the-shelf motors and sensors.  Christ, these days he had a good idea where you could get the ice cream wholesale, and which crooked vending-machine interests he’d have to grease to get his stuff into truck stops.” Doctorow (132)

In thinking about “the mind behind the artifact” (in this case the ice cream vending machine), we must think about the life of a person.  The quote above demonstrates so many pieces of prior knowledge.  This demonstration leads me to wonder about the instances in the maker’s life in which he learned these pieces of knowledge.  In order to make something do you have to know something?  Are these things slowly learned over time or can they be picked up quickly?  Is the knowledge information? skill? both?  Probably both and beyond.