The Closed World:Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America

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The Closed World offers a radical alternative to the canonical histories of computers and cognitive science. Arguing that we can make sense of computers as tools only when we simultaneously grasp their roles as metaphors and political icons, Paul Edwards shows how Cold War social and cultural contexts shaped emerging computer technology - and were transformed, in turn, by information machines. The Closed World explores three apparently disparate histories - the history of American global power, the history of computing machines, and the history of subjectivity in science and culture - through the lens of the American political imagination. In the process, it reveals intimate links among the military projects of the Cold War, the evolution of digital computers, and the origins of cybernetics, cognitive psychology, and artificial intelligence.
Publication Date: 
August 21, 1997