"I have said that this new development has unbound possibilities for good and for evil. For one thing, it makes the metaphorical dominance of the machines, as imagined by Samual Butler, a most immediate and non-metaphorical problem. It gives the human race a new and most effective collection of mechanical slaves to perform its labor. Such mechanical labor has most of the economic properties of slave labor, although, unlike slave labor, it does not involve the direct demoralizing effects of human cruelty. However, any labor that accepts the conditions of competition with slave labor accepts the conditions of slave labor, and is essentially slave labor. The key word of this statement is competition. It may very well be a good thing for humanity to have the machine remove from it the need of menial and disagreeable tasks, or it may not. I do not know."
- Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, 1948
In a fascinating interview with BCS managing editor Brian Runciman after she received the Lovelace medal, Spärck Jones said:
"I certainly think that professionalism is very important....To be a proper professional you need to think about the context and motivation and justifications of what you're doing...You don't need a fundamental philosophical discussion every time you put finger to keyboard, but as computing is spreading so far into people's lives you need to think about these things....I've always felt that once you see how important computing is for life you can't just leave it as a blank box and assume that somebody reasonably competent and relatively benign will do something right with it."
Thanks for the inspirational keynote on the Wednesday of EuroPython 2017, Katherine Jarmul.