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  •                         THE FUTURE DOES NOT COMPUTE
    
                       Transcending the Machines in Our Midst
    
                                 Stephen L. Talbott

    Table of Contents

    Acknowledgments.

    Chapter 1. Can Human Ideals Survive the Internet?

    The Internet has become the most highly perfected means yet for the scattering of the self beyond recall. Unless we can recollect ourselves in the presence of our intelligent artifacts, we have no future.
    PART 1. MAN, COMPUTERS, AND COMMUNITY

    Chapter 2. The Machine in the Ghost

    The one sure thing about the computer's future is that we will behold our own reflection in it. What I really fear is the hidden and increasingly powerful machine within *us*, of which the machines we create are an outward expression. Machines become a threat when they embody our limitations without our being fully aware of those limitations.
    Chapter 3. The Future Does Not Compute
    Computers will do us no good if they shape our thinking so thoroughly to the past that our courage fails us when it comes time to break the machine and declare for the unjustifiable.
    Chapter 4. Settlers in Cyberspace
    The lone Chinese standing in front of a tank on Tienanmen Square symbolized the fact that something in the human being -- some remaining spark of innocence and hope and bravery -- held more promise for the future of society than all the mechanisms of raw, earthly power.
    Chapter 5. On Being Responsible for Earth
    If we trash the current technology without changing our habits of mind, we will simply invent a new prison for ourselves using whatever materials are at hand. But if we *can* change ourselves, then Jerry Mander's argument that many technological products have a fixed, irremediable bias and should therefore be shunned loses its validity.
    Chapter 6. Networks and Communities
    It is not particularly surprising that in a culture widely cited for its loss of community, the word "community" itself should come in for heavy use. The more we lack something, the more we may be fascinated by fragmentary glimpses of it.
    Chapter 7. At the Fringe of Freedom
    It is strange that in a society founded so centrally on the creative initiative and freedom of the individual, we should today find this same individual so utterly helpless before the most urgent social problems.
    Chapter 8. Things That Run by Themselves
    The power of the computer-based organization to sustain itself in a semisomnambulistic manner, free of conscious, *present* control -- while yet maintaining a certain internal, logical coherence -- is increasing to a degree we have scarcely begun to fathom.
    Chapter 9. Do We Really Want a Global Village?
    Perhaps it is merely a ghastly sense for the ironic that prompts us to hail the birth of the global village just as villages around the world are self-destructing. But could it be that what we so eagerly welcome, unawares, are the powers of dissolution themselves?
    Chapter 10. Thoughts on a Group Support System
    The distor