The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America

The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America

by Paul N. Edwards
     
 

ISBN-10: 026205051X

ISBN-13: 9780262050517

Pub. Date: 04/08/1996

Publisher: MIT Press

The Closed World offers a radical alternative to the canonical histories of computers and cognitive science. Arguing that we can make sense of computers as tools only when we simultaneously grasp their roles as metaphors and political icons, Paul Edwards shows how Cold War social and cultural contexts shaped emerging computer technology - and were transformed, in turn…  See more details below

Overview

The Closed World offers a radical alternative to the canonical histories of computers and cognitive science. Arguing that we can make sense of computers as tools only when we simultaneously grasp their roles as metaphors and political icons, Paul Edwards shows how Cold War social and cultural contexts shaped emerging computer technology - and were transformed, in turn, by information machines. The Closed World explores three apparently disparate histories - the history of American global power, the history of computing machines, and the history of subjectivity in science and culture - through the lens of the American political imagination. In the process, it reveals intimate links among the military projects of the Cold War, the evolution of digital computers, and the origins of cybernetics, cognitive psychology, and artificial intelligence.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262050517
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
04/08/1996
Series:
Inside Technology Series
Pages:
462
Product dimensions:
6.54(w) x 9.23(h) x 1.46(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1"We Defend Every Place": Building the Cold War World1
2Why Build Computers?: The Military Role in Computer Research43
3SAGE75
4From Operations Research to the Electronic Battlefield113
5Interlude: Metaphor and the Politics of Subjectivity147
6The Machine in the Middle: Cybernetic Psychology and World War II175
7Noise, Communication, and Cognition209
8Constructing Artificial Intelligence239
9Computers and Politics in Cold War II275
10Minds, Machines, and Subjectivity in the Closed World303
Epilogue: Cyborgs in the World Wide Web353
Notes367
Index429

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