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Christopher Longuet-Higgins

Christopher Longuet-Higgins has been Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Sussex for the last 14 years. In the next issue, Ian Hacking will write from the stand point of a philosopher about the book Professor Longuet-Higgins is reviewing; the author of the book will also be contributing to the issue.

Mental Processes

Christopher Longuet-Higgins, 4 August 1988

No one interested in the spread of ideas can have failed to notice the influence that the computer is exerting not only on our habits of life but also on our ways of thought. Twenty years ago the computer was something of a joke – to those, at least, who prided themselves on their innumeracy: in the last few years it has become a threat not only to economic stability and the balance of terror but even to human dignity itself. Are we about to be displaced by the Ultra-Intelligent Machine, contemptuously indifferent to human fate – or is the Frankenstein image the product of an inflamed imagination, curable by a healthy dose of realism and clear thought?

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