...really good teaching is about not seeing the world the way that everyone else does...

"Good teachers perceive the world in alternative terms, and they push their students to test out these new, potentially enriching perspectives. Sometimes they do so in ways that are, to say the least, peculiar."
Mark Edmundson, "Geek Lessons" NYT, 2008

Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Secret Life of Puppets/Living Dolls

The Secret Life of Puppets, by Victoria Nelson
Living Dolls, by Gaby Wood
From robot dolls to cyborgs, humans have dreamt of artificial intelligence. Pat Kane says that this urge has more to do with metaphysics than mechanics

Review by Pat Kane.

As enduring quotations go, this one seems to be girding its loins for a very long life. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," Arthur C Clarke wrote in his 1972 science-fiction story "Report on Planet Three". Gaby Wood's Living Dolls uses it at the fulcrum of her exhaustive – and slightly exhausting – collection of mini-histories about our fascination with robots. I have always thought there was a missing end to the Clarke quote, though: it seems like magic only if you're performing it to credulous, untechnical fools.


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