The Best of Creative Computing Volume 1 (published 1976)

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Man and the Computer (review, by John G. Kemeny, 1972)
Survival Printout (review, by and Total Effect)

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continue, with units becoming cheaper, faster, and easier to assemble for the
purposes at hand.

To think of today's minis is misleading. The power of such systems in the near
future will be more comparable to that of very large contemporary computers,
even though these systems will be largely self-contained and stand-alone. Modern
video-based technology will, l believe, have great ramifications too; it also
suggests the possibility of very powerful local processing. The local processor
can drive displays without timesharing limitations, and interactive computer
graphics can overcome the limitations of a 1200 baud connection.

George Leonard's view of the future is only one of many. But such speculation,
such description of ideal future conditions in a broad and sweeping sense, is
important for developers of computer-based material. It is easy to become frozen
in the hardware and technology available at the moment, and so waste years of
time preparing materials that will only be obsolete when they are finished.
Perhaps nowhere is the future shock phenomenon likely to be more important than
in areas touched by the computer, because of the very rapid advances. Whether
you accept George Leonard's view or not, or perhaps just deem it an interesting
possibility, the need for long-range thinking and speculation about the future
is important for all of us.

Alfred Bork
University of California- Irvine


MAN AND- THE COMPUTER, John G. Kemeny, l5l pp. $6.95, Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York. 1972.

Although this book is based on a series of lectures delivered three years ago,
it deserves a careful reading. It is written for the person unfamiliar with
computers but could easily be read by computer professionals who need a new
perspective of the computer. The author divides the book into two parts. The
first part is a short history of computers and time-sharing plus speculation as
to whether we should consider the computer a new species. The second part is
peek into 1990 to see how this relation between man and computer might develop.

From the development of stored programs with the leadership of John von Neumann,
the computer exhibits characteristics of a species; i.e., metabolism,
locomotion, reproduction, individuality, intelligence, and naturalness. However,
this flies in the face of current acceptance of the definition of a "live
species." The author, after a very clear explanation of Dartmouth Time Sharing,
shows how the species of man and machine are coexisting. He then raises the
question about this relationship - Is it symbiotic or parasitic? Humans fear
that which they do not understand, and the computer professionals have not done
a very good Job of dispelling this fear. Symbiote or parasite - it is up to man
to use "enough understanding and enough foresight" to "assure that the
interaction between the two species will be totally beneficial to mankind."

1990 augurs widespread computer usage in business, education, and every day
existence. With specific examples the author relates how the technology of 1971
could develop these relationships. Progress in computers has bounded forward
with reduced costs in the use of microcomputers, computer terminals, and
inter-computer communication. Project INTREX has demonstrated the possibility of
storing vast amounts of information, but not

[image] My Horoscope Told Me To Take This Course! U.S. COLLEGE STUDENTS TAKING

economically yet. Hewlett-Packard has produced a personal programmable computer
for under $800. Therefore, we humans need the help of a federally subsidized
private agency to develop computer systems for public use. This agency could
lead the way in controlling this "symbiotic evolution" so that we could
experience a "new golden age for mankind."

Edgar T. Canty
Boston, MA.


Survival Printout, edited by Total Effect, Vintage Books,
New York. 232 pg. Paperback. $1.95.

The Introduction of this book describes a dialogue in SEMANT between the editors
(three professors of English who call their group Total Effect) and a Burroughs
Illiac  4. By means of this dialogue, they claim that the computer actually
chose the sixteen selections of science fact and science fiction that comprise
the book. 

The selections are divided into four groups. The first is called
"Evolution/Identity" and the four short stories by Eiseley, Ballard, Bester, and
Zelazny are speculations on man qua man. The first three delve into deep fantasy
and bring tto the surface thoughts that we probably have all had during times of
deep depression or extreme loneliness. For a Breath I Tarry by Roger Zelazny,
the last selection in this group is by far the best and describes the thought
process of a robot/computer attempting to achieve manhood. Absolutely

The second section is called "Earth Probabilities". Arthur Clarke leads off with
a factual article on the Social Consequence: of Communications Satellites
written in 1945 but timely today as it was then. The next two stories in this
section by Silverberg and Lafferty describe living conditions in an urban city
of the future and the reemergence of the streetcar. The last story is Harlan
Ellison's I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. It describes what happens when the
remaining giant computers on the earth after a nuclear war get together to keep
five human survivors living forever. It has been reprinted several places;
however, if you haven't read it yet, you must! It's superb.

The third section "Ecosystems - Cellular and Solar" starts with a factual
selection by Nigel Calder on exploding stars, black holes, pulsars, and other
cosmic phenomena, An excellent introduction to the fundamentals of the universe.
The other three stories in this section by Leiber, Delany, and Simak are good
solid entertainment with a liberal sprinkling of naked truth among the fun and

The last section "Time Space Travel" is probably the most speculative, dealing
from several points of view with relativistic travel to other stars, galaxies,
or galaxy clusters. It seems fairly clear that relativistic spaceflight is the
way to go assuming a way can be found to propel the craft (anti-matter?) and
protect the occupants. Cosmic radiation near the speed of light would have an
intensity 100,000 times greater than that of sunlight at the earth's surface.
Naturally in the three fiction selections by Smith, Heinlein, and Blish these
problems have been overcome and we are fascinated with the paradoxes of time
travel and the like.

Survival Printout is recommended for an entertaining, yet highly informative
diversion from your computer.

David H. Ahl
Morristown, N, I.

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