Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thinking of a Crime

The crime is that Computer Power and Human Reason by Joseph Weizenbaum is not in print and being read and its absolutely necessary warnings being taken seriously.   Re-reading it after a couple of decades, it is even more necessary than it was in the 1970s.   Its focus on some of the most dangerous habits of scientists and in the general culture,  habits so ingrained that mentioning them can lead to stupefied confusion and anger,  makes it necessary to, as Weizenbaum said:

I am acutely aware, for example, that there is nothing I say in this book that has not been said better, certainly more eloquently, by others.   But, as my friends continued to point out to me, it seemed important to say these things again and again. 

The solution to the failure of the publishing industry to provide a new edition, to type out the entire book, complete with illustrations, is beyond my ability and would be a crime.  Though, I don't think it would, actually, be immoral.   But I will type out many of its more important passages here for a while.

If any publisher does the right thing and issues a reprint I will promote it here.   Consider this as my campaign for the author, his book and the ideas contained in it.