All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace – II

I mentioned how much I was looking forward to the new series of documentaries by Adam Curtis: All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace.

Actually, the first episode was last week, and it was every bit as good as I had hoped for. I never realised, until Curtis made it clear, that there was a close, if not intimate, connection between Alan Greenspan and the ethical egoist-cum-sociopath Ayn Rand. Pause for shudder

Tonight’s episode will look at how our view of Nature, as interconnected ecosystems, echoes our view of machines. Should be good. And next week, Curtis will look at our view of the human being as machine, and tell the riveting, and almost outlandish, story of George Price, who was one of the first to come up with the idea of the Selfish Gene.

Adam Curtis has also been on Little Atoms, talking about the series and the ideas behind it (the second link on this page). Well worth a listen.

The underpinning theme of All Watched Over… is that of Cybernetics, with which I was fascinated when younger. I wonder whether Curtis will mention William Grey Walter and his cybernetic tortoises? I built one of those when I was a teenager, but really, one was not enough, you really needed several to be able to study the emergent behaviour…

At the very least, I hope that Curtis gives a shout-out to Anthony Stafford Beer, who was invited by Salvador Allende to implement Cybersyn to manage the planned economy of Chile. Unfortunately, like so much else, the experiment was swept away in the military coup of 1973, which was, surprise, surprise, endorsed by the US.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
This entry was posted in Computers and Internet, Society, Television. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace – II

  1. jonpatterns says:

    Adam mentions Chile, but not Stafford?

  2. jonpatterns says:

    He seems down on any sort of system analysis. But I think it can be useful, necessary to reduce complexity – but it is important to remember that it is just analysis.

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