Read e-book online The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in PDF

By Paul N. Edwards

The Closed World bargains a significantly new substitute to the canonical histories of pcs and cognitive technological know-how. Arguing that we will be able to make feel of desktops as instruments in basic terms once we concurrently take hold of their roles as metaphors and political icons, Paul Edwards indicates how chilly conflict social and cultural contexts formed rising desktop know-how -- and have been remodeled, in flip, through details machines.

The Closed World explores 3 it appears disparate histories -- the background of yankee international strength, the historical past of computing machines, and the heritage of subjectivity in technological know-how and tradition -- throughout the lens of the yankee political mind's eye. within the technique, it unearths intimate hyperlinks among the army initiatives of the chilly struggle, the evolution of electronic desktops, and the origins of cybernetics, cognitive psychology, and synthetic intelligence.

Edwards starts by way of describing the emergence of a "closed-world discourse" of world surveillance and keep an eye on via high-technology army energy. The chilly conflict political objective of "containment" ended in the SAGE continental air protection method, Rand company experiences of nuclear technique, and the complex applied sciences of the Vietnam battle. those and different centralized, automated army command and regulate tasks -- for holding world-scale conflicts -- helped closed-world discourse dominate chilly struggle political judgements. Their apotheosis used to be the Reagan-era plan for a " Star Wars" space-based ballistic missile defense.

Edwards then exhibits how those army tasks helped pcs develop into axial metaphors in mental concept. interpreting the Macy meetings on cybernetics, the Harvard Psycho-Acoustic Laboratory, and the early heritage of synthetic intelligence, he describes the formation of a "cyborg discourse." through developing either human minds and synthetic intelligences as details machines, cyborg discourse assisted in integrating humans into the hyper-complex technological structures of the closed world.

Finally, Edwards explores the cyborg as political identification in technology fiction -- from the disembodied, panoptic AI of 2001: an area Odyssey, to the mechanical robots of Star Wars and the engineered organic androids of Blade Runner -- the place info Age tradition and subjectivity have been either mirrored and constructed.

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The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America (Inside Technology) by Paul N. Edwards


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