The Cult of Information: A Neo-Luddite Treatise on High-Tech, Artificial Intelligence, and the True Art of Thinking / Edition 2

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As we devote ever-increasing resources to providing, or prohibiting, access to information via computer, Theodore Roszak reminds us that voluminous information does not necessarily lead to sound thinking. "Data glut" obscures basic questions of justice and purpose and may even hinder rather than enhance our productivity.

In this revised and updated edition of The Cult of
, Roszak reviews the disruptive role the computer has come to play in international finance and the way in which "edutainment" software and computer games degrade the literacy of children. At the same time, he finds hopeful new ways in which the library and free citizens' access to the Internet and the national data-highway can turn computer technology into a democratic and liberating force. Roszak's examination of the place of computer technology in our culture is essential reading for all those who use computers, who are intimidated by computers, or who are concerned with the appropriate role of computers in the education of our children.

A demystifying study of the role, history and future of computers in modern society and a clear explication of what they can and cannot do.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520085848
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/29/1994
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 267
  • Sales rank: 1,460,028
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Theodore Roszak is Professor of History at California State University, Hayward. Among his many books are The Voice of the Earth (1992), Flicker (1991), and The Making of a Counter Culture (1969).

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Table of Contents

In Defense of the Naked Mind: Introduction to the Second Edition
The Computer and General Ludd
How Artificial Can Intelligence Be?
Meanwhile, Back at the Carnival...
The End of the War Machine?
The Advent of the Money Machine
Edutainment from Apple II to Metroid II
The Ideal of the On-Line Commonwealth
And Finally...A Few Words for the Rest of Us
1 "Information, Please" 3
Information Old-Style 3
Enter UNIVAC 6
Cybernetics and the Secret of Life 9
Messages Without Meanings 11
The Biocomputer 16
2 The Data Merchants 21
High Tech and the Conservative Opportunists 21
Sunbelt Politics and the Warfare State 26
Megahype 30
Hackers and Hucksters 36
Silicon and Natural Selection 41
Technophilia 44
3 The Hidden Curriculum 47
The Chimera of Computer Literacy 47
A Solution in Search of Problems 51
The Computerized Campus 56
Power and Dependency 64
A Private Universe 68
4 The Program Within the Program: The Case of Logo 72
5 Of Ideas and Data 87
Ideas Come First 87
The Master Ideas 91
Experience, Memory, Insight 95
The Empiricist Gambit 101
No Ideas, No Information 105
6 Computers and Pure Reason 108
The Light in Plato's Cave 108
The Old Mathematical Magic 113
The Seductions of Software 116
An Alien Intelligence 120
The Flight from Reality 127
The Fifth Generation...and Beyond 129
7 The Computer and the Counterculture 135
Big Blue and the Guerrilla Hackers 135
An Electronic Populism 138
The Heroic Age of the Microcomputer 141
Reversionaries and Technophiles 146
Domes, Data, and Dope 150
Decline and Fall 153
8 The Politics of Information 156
Nothing But the Facts 156
Data Glut 161
Issues Before Information 165
On-line Communities: The Promise of Networking 167
9 Ben Franklin's Information Service: Libraries, Literacy, and the Ecology of Mind 173
The Public Library: The Missing Link in the Information Age 173
Privatizing the Public's Right to Know 178
The Library's High-Tech Identity Crisis 181
NREN and the Internet: All the World On-Line 184
Aladdin's Magic Digitized Lamp 186
Electronic Alzheimer's 193
Literacy Imperiled 196
Ecologists of Mind 199
10 In the Wrong Hands 202
The Foundations of Information Technology 202
The Surveillance Machine 206
The Polling Machine 212
The War Machine 218
Machine a Gouverner 222
At the Limits of Sanity: The Psychotic Machine 227
11 Descartes's Angel: Reflections on the True Art of Thinking 234
Notes 245
Index 261
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