Man Vs. Machine

deskset“Computers will never rob man of his initiative or replace the need for his creative thinking. By freeing man from the more menial or repetitive forms of thinking, computers will actually increase the opportunities for the full use of human reason. Only human beings can think imaginatively and creatively in the fullest sense of these words”–Thomas Watson Jr., CEO, IBM, April 25, 1960 (quoted in John E. Kelly III and Steve Hamm, Smart Machines, 2013). 

“They can’t build a machine to do our job; there are too many cross-references in this place”–the head librarian (Katharine Hepburn) to her anxious colleagues in the research department when a “methods engineer” (Spencer Tracy) is hired to “improve workman-hour relationship” in a large corporation; by the end of the film, Desk Set (released in 1957 and sponsored by IBM), she proves her point by winning, not only the engineer’s heart, but also a contest with the ominous looking “Electronic Brain” (aka computer).

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