Sunday, June 26, 2005

The New York Review of Books: The Tragic Tale of a Genius (review by Freeman J. Dyson)

The New York Review of Books: The Tragic Tale of a Genius (review by Freeman J. Dyson): "Neither Wiener nor von Neumann nor Shannon, nor anyone else in the 1940s, foresaw the microprocessors that would make digital computers small and cheap and reliable and available to private citizens. Nobody foresaw the Internet or the ubiquitous cell phone. As a result of the proliferation of digital computers in private hands, Wiener's nightmare vision of a few giant computers determining the fate of human societies never came to pass. But other aspects of Wiener's vision of the future are coming true. We see, as he predicted, millions of skilled human workers displaced by machines and sinking into poverty. We see the basis of the wealth of nations moving from the manufacture of goods to the processing of information. We see the beginnings of an understanding of the mysteries of the human brain. We still have much to learn from Wiener's vision."
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