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Hardcover | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780262181839 | 240 pp. | 6 x 9 in | May 1997
Paperback | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780262681025 | 240 pp. | 6 x 9 in | July 1998

Slaves of the Machine

The Quickening of Computer Technology


In Moths to the Flame, Gregory J.E. Rawlins took lay readers on a tour of the exciting and sometimes scary world to which compters are leading us. This new book is for those who are new to computers and want to know what is "under the hood." It shows what computers can do for us and to us. It tells the story of how we became slaves to our machines and how our machines may one day become slaves to us. Written in an accessible, anecdotal form, Slaves of the Machine presents the birth of the computer, charts its evolution, and envisions its development over the next fifty years.

Each of the six chapters asks a simple question: What are computers? How do we build them? How do we talk to them? How do we program them? What can't they do? Could they think? After answering its question, each chapter views its topic in terms of the state of the art as of 1997 and into the near future. Rawlins successfully demystifies the computer—the first step away from slavery to it.


“In this entertaining, thought provoking and rich-in-metaphors book, Rawlins explores and explains the computer, from its modest origins to its most immodest potential relationship with humans. A pleasant 'must' for anyone who cares about the broader 'what', 'how' and 'how far' of these machines.”
Michael L. Dertouzos, Director, MIT Laboratory for Computer Science; author of What Will Be
Slaves of the Machine is a scintillatingly written exploration of machines, of computers, of life, and of human nature. Filled with original analogies and metaphors, crammed with humor and cynicism, this book is both light and deep at the same time—no small achievement. Any thinking being who picks it up will find it engrossing, disorienting, disturbing, and deliciously provocative.”
Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, Le Ton beau de Marot, and Metamagical Themas
“[H]ere's something completely different: a computer book for smart people—folks who may not know much about PC's but who don't enjoy being talked down to, either.... It's an elegant, thought-provoking little book, full of literary references and history.”
John Schwartz, Washington Post