Donald N. Michael on our future cybernation

He wrote:

[When] computers acquire the necessary capabilities…speeded-up data processing and interpretation will be necessary if professional services are to be rendered with any adequacy.  Once the computers are in operation, the need for additional professional people may be only moderate…

There will be a small, almost separate, society of people in rapport with the advanced computers.  These cyberneticians will have established a relationship with their machines that cannot be shared with the average man any more than the average man today can understand the problems of molecular biology, nuclear physics, or neuropsychiatry.  Indeed, many scholars will not have the capacity to share their knowledge or feeling about this new man-machine relationship.  Those with the talent for the work probably will have to develop it from childhood and will be trained as intensively as the classical ballerina.

Michael then discusses what will happen to those people who cannot work productively with the machines.  Some will still work in person-to-person interactions, but the others will end up in government-designed public tasks and work short hours and subsist on the public dole.  He also considers the possibility of sending some of these individuals to poorer countries where automation is not so far advanced.

Michael wrote all of that and more in his book Cybernation: The Silent Conquest in…1962.


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