ArticlesComputers and People

What Computers Mean for Man and Society

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Science  18 Mar 1977:
Vol. 195, Issue 4283, pp. 1186-1191
DOI: 10.1126/science.195.4283.1186


From an economic standpoint, the modern computer is simply the most recent of a long line of new technologies that increase productivity and cause a gradual shift from manufacturing to service employment. The empirical evidence provides no support for the claim sometimes made that the computer "mechanizes" and "dehumanizes" work. Perhaps the greatest significance of the computer lies in its impact on Man's view of himself. No longer accepting the geocentric view of the universe, he now begins to learn that mind, too, is a phenomenon of nature, explainable in terms of simple mechanisms. Thus the computer aids him to obey, for the first time, the ancient injunction, "Know thyself."