In conclusion, it is of interest to recall that when Copernicus proved that the earth was not the center of the universe, but rather a tiny speck, he injured man’s pride. When Darwin suggested that we are not specially created, but rather an extension of the animal world, he salted this wounded pride. When Freud taught that we are not the master of our own house, but that we must be content with tiny vignettes of what goes on in our minds, he seared our salted wound. Finally, in a paper entitled “The Fourth Discontinuity,” Mazlish suggests that the computer constitutes yet another blow to man’s ego, for in a sense it places him on a continuous spectrum with the machines that he builds. If so, let us now swallow our pride like those who preceded us, comfort ourselves if need be with the reminder that it is we who can always pull out the plug, and set about the task of developing humanitarian uses for these inanimate machines.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Reprinted by permission from Bleich HL, The computer as consultant, N Engl J Med (284,3):146, 1971.Google Scholar