[LINK] We live in interesting times....

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Mon Oct 20 13:36:17 EST 2008

At 13:21 +1100 20/10/08, Tom Koltai wrote:
[the bit about machines taking over the world]

There's a rich cultural legacy.  Let's see now, off the top of the head:
-   Erewhon (Samuel Butler, 1872)
-   The Machine Stopped (E.M. Forster, 1909)     <<<==== first prize
-   Rossum's Universal Robots (Carel Capek, 1920)
-   Player Piano (Kurt Vonnegut, 1952)

The excerpt from the Unabomber's manifesto is a lot less silly than 
what he did to draw attention to it.

>An interesting read at
>n claims that derivatives have caused the current economic crisis and
>that machines are taking over the world.
>"But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily
>turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully
>seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily
>permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the
>machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the
>machines' decisions. ... Eventually a stage may be reached at which the
>decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that
>human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that
>stage the machines will be in effective control. People won't be able to
>just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them
>that turning them off would amount to suicide."
>Exerpt from the Unabomber's manifesto.

Roger Clarke                  http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/

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Visiting Professor in Info Science & Eng  Australian National University
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program      University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW

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