The Best of Creative Computing Volume 1 (published 1976)

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Fairy Tales Can Come True...It Depends on You (exercise, effects of an advanced technological society)

graphic of page

Fairy Tales Can Come True...

[image] New Yo

by Ron Jones


[image]  ACME WHOLESALE COMPANY Helena, Montana Order No 69171 Date 2/10 Invoice
No 1410 Sold to Johnson Mercantile 6199 Rodney St. Helena, Montana Salesman 18
READING SEQUENCE FROM ACME SALES SLIP 1 -- Order No 2 -- Date 3 -- Invoice No 4
-- Sold to 5 -- Salesman

ONCE THERE WAS a country that had made more technical progress than any other
country in the world.

ITS SCIENTISTS, economists, psychologists, engineers and all the like were
generating billions of bits of knowledge each year -- knowledge that could help
the country make the best decisions to keep its people healthy, wealthy, and

THE PEOPLE, their elected representatives, and the president couldn't keep up
with all this information -- and didn't understand most of it anyhow -- and
important decisions seemed more and more to be wrong.

SOME SCIENTISTS came up with an invention -- a computer to store all the old
facts and the new ones as they came along -- and to make it easy to find the
facts and to analyze them.

OTHER SCIENTISTS developed ways of organizing facts to be able to manage
operations involving many, many people and lots of money. But ordinary people
can't talk to computers or use these new systems.

IT TAKES professional scientists to do this job, and so the people, their
elected representatives, and the president were coming to depend more and more
on these scientists to recommend decisions.

THE SCIENTISTS feel that the facts in the computer have to be complete, even
down to the most personal information about each person. The more facts, the
more accurate they are, the more correct the decisions will be.

SOME PEOPLE fought back against this. They said that the country was a
democracy, that a democracy means the people have a say-so in decision making,
that everyone is equal in the country, and that the dignity of individuals is
preserved at all costs. They didn't want to see their country run by scientists
and computers.

THE SUPPORTERS of the scientists and the computers answered that the democracy
was in danger from planlessness and poor administration -- that the world had
become too complicated in the two hundred years since the country was formed --
and that the longer people fought the new technology, the greater the chance it
would be forced down their throats as a dictatorship completely out of their


Reprinted from Technology and Social Change, Copyright 1973 by The Educational
Source, Inc., P. O. Box 103, Soquel, CA 95073. (Send for their catalog of
educational materials - you will enjoy it.)


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