【彩6官方】控制论失落的历史 新时代的自动化妄想症
本文摘要:It is perhaps the delusion of every generation to exaggerate the novelty of their age and believe they face challenges and opportunities that no one has ever faced before. 这也许是每一代人都有的通病:高估自己所处时代的新奇之处,指出自己这一代人面对的挑战和机遇是前人未曾经历过的。


It is perhaps the delusion of every generation to exaggerate the novelty of their age and believe they face challenges and opportunities that no one has ever faced before. 这也许是每一代人都有的通病:高估自己所处时代的新奇之处,指出自己这一代人面对的挑战和机遇是前人未曾经历过的。So it is today as we contemplate our automated future.如今我们在思维人类的自动化未来时也罪了这样的妄想症。The great service of Thomas Rid’s book — Rise of the Machines: The Lost History of Cybernetics — is to highlight how we have been grappling with the relationship between man and machine for longer than we might have imagined. 托马斯里德(Thomas Rid)的著作《机器的兴起:生物学重生的历史》(Rise of the Machines: The Lost History of Cybernetics)的最重要贡献在于,它特别强调我们很长时间以来—比我们自己所以为更长—仍然在处置人与机器之间的关系。

It also shows how the debate has been coloured by the full spectrum of emotions.它还指出这场辩论弥漫在各种各样的情绪之中。According to Rid, the idea of playing God and creating mechanical life predates the invention of the computer by many centuries — at least in the world of mythology. 里德指出,扮演着上帝、建构机械生命的点子比电脑问世早于了许多个世纪,最少在神话故事中是如此。Early Jewish folklore recounted the tale of the golem, a shapeless clay figure brought to life by humans. 早期的犹太民间传说中有魔像(golem)的故事,它是一种没形状的泥人,由人类彰显生命。

The Greeks invented Hephaestus, the divine blacksmith, who created automata out of bronze. 希腊人建构了铁匠保护神赫斐斯塔斯(Hephaestus),他用铜用上了自动机(automata)。The Czech playwright Karel apek gave us R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), a story about a factory manufacturing artificial workers that popularised the word robot when it was staged in the US in 1950. 捷克剧作家卡雷尔扎佩克(Karel apek)创作出有了戏剧《罗萨姆万能机器人生产公司》(Rossums Universal Robots),描写的是一家工厂生产人工劳动力的故事,该剧1950年在美国首演后,机器人这个词流行起来。

Humans may have long obsessed about machines that could think and make decisions on their own. 人类有可能长年执迷于需要自律思维和做到要求的机器。Then, in the 1940s, they began to become a reality as artillery shells equipped with radio fuses helped shoot down V-1 rockets during the second world war. 上世纪40年代,这种点子开始沦为现实,配有无线电雷管的炮弹在二战期间协助击毁了V-1火箭。

Never before had one autonomous weapon clashed with another autonomous weapon with so little human interference, Rid writes.里德写到:根本没一台自动武器利用这么较少的人为介入与另一台自动武器再次发生撞击。Norbert Wiener, a brilliant, eccentric MIT mathematician, coined the term cybernetics and emerged as its leading theoretician, publishing Cybernetics; or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine in 1948. 才华横溢而性情怪异的麻省理工学院(MIT)数学家诺伯特威纳(Norbert Wiener)建构出有了生物学(cybernetics)这个词,并沦为这一领域的领先理论家,他在1948年出版发行了《生物学》(Cybernetics),也叫作《动物和机器内部的掌控和通信》(Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine)。As Rid puts it, Wiener and the early cyberneticists replaced the magic of mythology with science.正如里德所言,威纳和早期的生物学学者用科学代替了神话魔力。Wiener was seen as the prophet of the second industrial revolution, veering from the wildly enthusiastic to the deeply pessimistic. 威纳被视作第二次工业革命的先知,他从极为热情改向相当严重乐观。

In 1950 he wrote that automatic machines would be the economic equivalent of slave labour, producing an unemployment situation in comparison with which...the depression of the thirties will seem like a pleasant joke. 1950年,他写到,自动机器将变为经济中类似于奴隶劳动力的不存在,导致大量失业,与之比起……三十年代的不景气真是就是个无聊的笑话。That view has particular resonance today as we once again fret about the rise of the robots.这种观点在今天有类似意义,我们再度担忧机器人的兴起。Rid, a professor in security studies at King’s College London, is a fine chronicler of the debate, deftly recounting the hope, hype, and fears that have accompanied our thinking on automation. 作为伦敦大学国王学院(Kings College London)安全性研究方面的教授,里德是一位关于这场辩论的杰出记录者,他精妙的记载了我们在思维自动化的过程中产生的期望、抹黑和忧虑。

The machines were always a positive and a negative force at the same time, utopian and dystopian at once, although most of the time optimism dominated.机器总是既正面又负面,既有些乌托邦又鼓吹乌托邦,不过多数时间以乐观主义居多。Governments and the military dominated the early use of computers in the 1950s and 1960s, with the US army at one time even exploring the deployment in Vietnam of an 18ft, two-legged walking tank known as the Pedipulator.上世纪五、六十年代,政府和军方掌控着电脑的早期应用于,美国军方甚至曾考虑到在越南部署被称作步行机(Pedipulator)的18英尺高、用两条腿走路的坦克。

Radical and libertarian thinkers in the US remained suspicious about computers seeing them as a means of societal control. 美国保守自由主义思想家当时仍对电脑所持猜测态度,他们把电脑视作社会掌控的一种手段。One described cyborgs as the illegitimate offspring of militarism and patriarchal capitalism.有人把半机器人叙述为军国主义和父权资本主义的私生子。

But as computers became more powerful and accessible, they were increasingly viewed by hippies on the US west coast as a mechanism for liberation, helping to stimulate the astonishing development of Silicon Valley. 但随着电脑显得更加强劲并被更加多人用于,它们更加被美国西海岸的嬉皮士视作通向权利的途径,它协助性刺激硅谷的难以置信发展。Timothy Leary, the US psychologist, compared computers with psychedelic drugs given their mind-enhancing properties.由于电脑具备提高精神的特性,美国心理学家蒂莫西利瑞(Timothy Leary)把电脑比作致幻药。More harmonious visions of man and machine emerged, and by 1995 it was estimated that 10 per cent of the US population could be classified as cyborgs, given their bodies contained implants, such as electronic pacemakers or artificial joints. 人与机器更加人与自然的画面经常出现了,到1995年,据估计,美国10%的人口可以被列入半机器人,因为他们的体内植入了各种设备,例如电子心脏起搏器或人工关节。Richard Brautigan’s poetic vision of computers as machines of loving grace began to take shape.理查德布劳蒂根(Richard Brautigan)把电脑视作慈爱机器的诗意画面开始成型。

Rise of the Machines is a fascinating if slightly frustrating book, dazzling in parts but never quite adding up to an integrated whole. 《机器的兴起》一书引人入胜,虽说有可能使人略感觉失望,部分章节十分抢眼,但未包含一个人与自然统一的整体。One stark lesson is that we should remain wary of all those predicting the future impact of technology. 一个严苛的教训是,我们仍不应警觉所有那些对技术在未来的影响加以预测的人士。The futurists, of course, didn’t always get the future wrong, but almost always they got the speed, the scale, and the shape wrong, Rid writes. They continue to do so.当然,未来学家并非总是把未来不晓得,但他们在速度、规模和形状方面完全总是不晓得,里德写到,他们将一如既往。




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