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Something is rotten in tomorrow's computer world The time is in the not-too-distant future. Physical work is done by robot devices. Men and women are endowed at birth with a sum of credit called Inalienable Basic. Everyone operates with a Universal Credit Card - which is also identification, police record, medical record, and many other things. Every detail of life in the Something is rotten in tomorrow's computer world The time is in the not-too-distant future. Physical work is done by robot devices. Men and women are endowed at birth with a sum of credit called Inalienable Basic. Everyone operates with a Universal Credit Card - which is also identification, police record, medical record, and many other things. Every detail of life in the United States of the Americas is stored in the International Data Center, located in Denver. Paul Kosloff, a language teacher who lectures over National Tri-Vision is rescued from a mysterious assault by a secret agent of the authorities who insists that only he, Kosloff, can prevent the International Data Center from being destroyed - and every living being's data wiped out. Kosloff goes forth - into a maelstrom of plot and counter-plot, murder, treason - and worse


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Something is rotten in tomorrow's computer world The time is in the not-too-distant future. Physical work is done by robot devices. Men and women are endowed at birth with a sum of credit called Inalienable Basic. Everyone operates with a Universal Credit Card - which is also identification, police record, medical record, and many other things. Every detail of life in the Something is rotten in tomorrow's computer world The time is in the not-too-distant future. Physical work is done by robot devices. Men and women are endowed at birth with a sum of credit called Inalienable Basic. Everyone operates with a Universal Credit Card - which is also identification, police record, medical record, and many other things. Every detail of life in the United States of the Americas is stored in the International Data Center, located in Denver. Paul Kosloff, a language teacher who lectures over National Tri-Vision is rescued from a mysterious assault by a secret agent of the authorities who insists that only he, Kosloff, can prevent the International Data Center from being destroyed - and every living being's data wiped out. Kosloff goes forth - into a maelstrom of plot and counter-plot, murder, treason - and worse

30 review for Computer World

  1. 5 out of 5

    tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE

    review of Mack Reynolds's Computer World by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - March 10, 2019 I've already praised Mack Reynolds in so many reviews that I feel redundant doing it again. Nonetheless, you haven't necessarily read the reviews where I've praised him so I have to dose this w/ at least a little of the same flavor to do him justice. Most of the Reynolds bks I've read recently take place in a near future (that's ometimes this reader's past) in wch social problems have been solved much better review of Mack Reynolds's Computer World by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - March 10, 2019 I've already praised Mack Reynolds in so many reviews that I feel redundant doing it again. Nonetheless, you haven't necessarily read the reviews where I've praised him so I have to dose this w/ at least a little of the same flavor to do him justice. Most of the Reynolds bks I've read recently take place in a near future (that's ometimes this reader's past) in wch social problems have been solved much better than they're ever likely to be but there're still dissenters &/or power-hungry people plotting an overthrow of these near-utopic conditions. Computer World has one ft in & one ft outside of that category. The main character, Paul Kosloff, lectures about linguistics on "Tri-Vision", what is easily concluded to be hologram television. To give an idea of how light people's workloads are: "The technician said, "Well, that's it for the week, Professor. You know, you teachers have it easy." ""How's that?" Paul fingered the invisible automatic zipper on his briefcase, closing it. ""Well, this job comes under the head of hard labor for me. I put in a full four hour day, on a four day a week basis. And I'll probably be stuck with it for a full five years before retirement. But here you turn up one lousy hour a week." "Paul Kosloff grunted deprecation. "How long to you think it takes me to prepare one of these lectures, Jerry?" He took up the briefcase and stuck it under his arm." - p 11 The typesetter for this bk might've also lived in a future where work was undemanding because at the bottom of page 10 the reader finds: "The technician gestured to him in a professional's ditionally ascribed to Saint Cyril but was probably the" & on the bottom of page 13 finds: "and out into the office area of the University of coming down to get me that way."" How many people wd flaunt a degree from "the University of coming down to get me that way" these days? Why I remember when that degree wd get ya a 4 hr a wk job earning 6 voluptuous figures but those days are gone. Instead, we have the megalopolis. "Automatically, without need for thought, as automatically as once men drove" the University of coming down to get me that way ", he brought down the canopy, put his Universal Credit Card in the slot, dropped the pressurizer and dialed the cantral vacuum-tube terminal. The Tri-Vision studios in which he worked were located in Greater Washington, but he lived in the pseudo-city of Princeton in the area once known as New Jersey." - p 14 Reynolds is always good for interpolating history into his stories. "Toward the last, the emperors were providing hundreds of thousands of animals and men to satisfy the bloodlust of their people", the University of coming down to get me that way. "Nor were simple fights sufficient. Battles, including naval engagements, were fought in the arena, sometimes between such exotic warriors as pigmies from Africa's interior, and seven foot tall northmen from far Scandinavia. Criminals were crucified, tied face to face with a rotting corpse, until, over a period of days, they smothered to death; baboons were trained to rape virgins; living slaves were dipped in tar and strung up to be used as torches." - p 17 AH.. Civilization! Despite the fantasticness of his stories, Reynolds is careful to make his details realistic. Take this fighting scene w/ Kosloff defending himself: "He decided to risk the twenty-first Kata and threw himself into a fighting stance. The one who had just slugged him came in fast, throwing a left punch with pointed hand, Nishi ken style. Paul bent his body slightly to the right in downward motion and threw a left edge of hand block hard against the other's wrist. He grabbed the inside of the wrist with his left, forcing his arm up high and pulled his opponent's arm upward as he pivoted on his left foot to the left. His body was now completely backwards against the attacker's stomach. He held the other's arm high and with his right elbow came back hard with an elbow blow to the stranger's stomach." - p 20 Kosloff lives in a world where data, including detailed data about most or almost all citizens, is kept in a National Data Bank. Any damage to this data bank is likely to cause the whoe society that it uses & is used by to collapse. Goodbye easy lifestyle. "Harrison ignored him. "I suppose it really began back in the 1960's when New Haven consolidated all the city's files on the individual into a single data pool open to all city agencies. Santa Clara County in California wasn't far behind and put all county residents into a computer bank, listing age, address, birth record, driver's license, voting and jury status, property holdings, occupation, health, welfare, and police records." - p 38 Those darned SF writers. Look at what this feller does: he pays attn to what's happening around him & then extrapolates from that. What a wacko. Or, at least, so I hoped. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything online substantiating Reynolds's history of New Haven & Santa Clara County's data collection & centralization. That doesn't mean it's not true. I don't always trust what's available online. I didn't find anything about New Haven in the index of the 1980 edition of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. & what about Manhattan? ""Manhattan! Manhattan's been deserted for years." ""Not exactly. There's a few hundred or so of what they call baboons. Possibly a few thousand. They don't exactly admit of a census. Fugitives, left overs from the riots who are afraid to come over to the mainland, mental cases, foreigners without papers who aren't eligible for being issued Inalienable Basic and hence have no way of maintaining themselves on the mainland. Then there are the looters who scrounge through the ruins trying to find art objects, jewelry, saleable things they can take to the mainland and sell to antique and art dealers." - pp 49-50 Well, I guess Manhattan's more or less out. Just as I thought it might finally be affordable. What about other places? "["]Why live in the most expensive country in the world, when you can pick such spots as Mexico, Spain, Greece, Morocco and a score of other countries where the cost of living is a fraction? On their Social Security income, oldsters in California or Florida could live only on a poverty level. In Mexico they could live in luxury, complete with servants."" - pp 57-58 I wdn't mind a higher quality of life but I don't want servants, no sireebob. Even if I were inclined to be such a petty despot, I'm sure I'd end up with baboons trying to rape my virgin the University of coming down to get me that way degree. Fuck that shit. Besides, "They can monitor not only everything you say or receive in your phone conversations, but all the talk and other sounds that go on in your vicinity. They can do this to everybody in the United States of the Americas, if and when they wish, who wears a teevee wrist phone." "Paul Kosloff stared down at his in consternation. "They can?" ""Yes. And, of course, it is illegal not to wear your teevee phone. But that's just the beginning. We can bug rooms right through a wall. We can read conversations going on in a room by the vibrations on the windows. We can listen in on a conversation going on in the open, half a mile away. Oh, you'd be amazed how we snoopers can snoop these days, hombre."" - p 66 How many of you readers even need to have this appraisal of technological surveillance born out for you with contemporary knowledge? Snooping on conversations by reflecting microwaves off vibrating glass is old news. GPSs on cell-phones to show location is common knowledge — even if many people don't think about the implications. I, on the other hand, can't help but think about the comtemporary degree of surveillance combined w/ '6 degrees of separation'. I'm positive that at this very moment, there's a maidservant to the queen who's masturbating to my keystrokes here & that we're only 2 degrees apart. Love it or loave it. ""My dear Paul, you must realize, I don't move in such exotic circles. My work is in biological research." He reached out and poured them additional barack, an apologetic element in his voice. "Paul leaned forward. "I didn't expect you to. However, I once listened in on a conversation in which one of the speakers maintained that it took only four contacts, at most, to meet anyone in the world." "His uncle snorted, "I'd like to see four contacts get me an introduction to, say, the King of England." "Paul accepted that. "Very well, I would be your first contact. I studied Polish and Czech with a friend who had once spent a year at Oxford. I would introduce you to him. In turn, while at Oxford he associated with who was later to become Sir Antony Brett-James, who is now a colonel in the Royal Guard. I am sure he could arrange for an introduction for you to the King. Four contacts, in fact only three."" - p 152 "Six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other. As a result, a chain of "a friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929 and popularized in an eponymous 1990 play written by John Guare. It is sometimes generalized to the average social distance being logarithmic in the size of the population." [..] "Michael Gurevich conducted seminal work in his empirical study of the structure of social networks in his 1961 Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD dissertation under Ithiel de Sola Pool. Mathematician Manfred Kochen, an Austrian who had been involved in urban design, extrapolated these empirical results in a mathematical manuscript, Contacts and Influences, concluding that in a U.S.-sized population without social structure, "it is practically certain that any two individuals can contact one another by means of at most two intermediaries. In a [socially] structured population it is less likely but still seems probable. And perhaps for the whole world's population, probably only one more bridging individual should be needed." They subsequently constructed Monte Carlo simulations based on Gurevich's data, which recognized that both weak and strong acquaintance links are needed to model social structure. The simulations, carried out on the relatively limited computers of 1973, were nonetheless able to predict that a more realistic three degrees of separation existed across the U.S. population, foreshadowing the findings of American psychologist Stanley Milgram. "Milgram continued Gurevich's experiments in acquaintanceship networks at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. Kochen and de Sola Pool's manuscript, Contacts and Influences, was conceived while both were working at the University of Paris in the early 1950s, during a time when Milgram visited and collaborated in their research. Their unpublished manuscript circulated among academics for over 20 years before publication in 1978. It formally articulated the mechanics of social networks, and explored the mathematical consequences of these (including the degree of connectedness). The manuscript left many significant questions about networks unresolved, and one of these was the number of degrees of separation in actual social networks. Milgram took up the challenge on his return from Paris, leading to the experiments reported in The Small World Problem in popular science journal Psychology Today, with a more rigorous version of the paper appearing in Sociometry two years later. The Psychology Today article generated enormous publicity for the experiments, which are well known today, long after much of the formative work has been forgotten." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_deg... Can't plug our old pal Stanley Milgram enuf. Maybe the most interesting idea in the bk is this: ""This is an intuition computer, Professor. Given that same problem I mentioned earlier, that had ten elements, two of which are unknowns. A man will often hit, intuitively, the correct answer after assimilating only five or six of the seemingly necessary elements. Nostradamus, here, halves that. It often comes up—intuitively—with the correct answer after being given but one third of the seemingly pertinent information."" - p 167 "Artificial intuition is a theoretical capacity of an artificial software to function similarly to human consciousness, specifically in the capacity of human consciousness known as intuition." [..] "Veeramachaneni and others at MIT developed a machine which performed comparably to humans in a test of intuitive intelligence during 2015." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artific...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Frank Ashe

    "The Computer Conspiracy" when serialised in IF "The Computer Conspiracy" when serialised in IF

  3. 5 out of 5

    OTIS

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ian

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Russon

  6. 4 out of 5

    D. E.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael Moore

  8. 4 out of 5

    K.O.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Terry

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rene

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Clark

  12. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  13. 5 out of 5

    John Worpenberg

  14. 5 out of 5

    Judy

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christopher York

  16. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Smith

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dianne Bennett

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jacqui

  21. 4 out of 5

    David Whovian

  22. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  23. 5 out of 5

    wlmunro

  24. 5 out of 5

    Willy Boy

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brian Smith

  26. 4 out of 5

    Aric Aitch

  27. 4 out of 5

    DZMM

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carl

  29. 5 out of 5

    Percy Bell

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jason

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