What Dawkins says is that we are just machines – our function is just machines whose role is to allow embedded systems to carry on over time. And what these systems are doing is playing mathematical games of strategy against each other, hoping to survive. So we become soft, fleshy machines to carry these codes. I think that’s another example of a system that diminishes us. We’ve embraced it quite happily, because it offers us a retreat from trying to change the world. Whatever we do, liberals, the right, corporations, in recent history it seems to lead to unforseen consequences. We throw up our hands and go, “Oh dear!”.

110524 Adam Curtis: The Rise of the Machines: The Register

my standards for technological innovation:-

1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.

Wendell Berry

1987 Why I am NOT Going to Buy a Computer

2001: A Space Odyssey

  • Interviewer: “HAL, you have an enormous responsibility on this mission, in many ways perhaps the greatest responsibility of any single mission element. You’re the brain, and central nervous system of the ship, and your responsibilities include watching over the men in hibernation. Does this ever cause you any lack of confidence?”
  • HAL: “Let me put it this way, Mr. Amor. The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.”