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From Northeastern University the National Information Network presents urban confrontation. What we are playing about now in DNA deoxyribonucleic acid is the secret of life and we don't know what we're going to do with it once we've got it. The experts know these little blinkered Xpress know all these committed men because they can modify jobs and turn them into biological warfare. A British scientist died of a joke which he invented which the DNA mutated and then I want to be examined a colleague said to me when it happened. Thank God he didn't sneeze. He could have started a world epidemic against which there would have been no natural immunity in the course of time and it's only a matter of time. We should be able to transpose or dispose the DNA groupings the code of
hereditary so that we can determine artificially how cells will behave. Wrong. We should correct the misbehavior of the cells which we call council which will modify the red tree the defects which will improve the species. Iraq again. The Nats is how the idea of a master race. They try to breed it from pure add in stock they try to eliminate inferior breeds in the gas chamber or to experiment with them in biological about it as are the concentration camps. Now we who are we will decide on the DNA plus prescription of this man. This week on urban confrontation. Lord Ricky called the. Altar a noted British Humanist. This week's program. Man versus machine in 1984 a struggle for survival. This is the age of modern technology. An age in which we are affected by constant
changes in the machines we use both at home and at work. Is technology running out of control. Will machines take over our lives. These are serious questions confronting man as he approaches the 21st century. In the next half hour Lord Richie Calder British Humanist and author long noted for his clear and interesting coverage of scientific developments gives his impressions of what technological innovation may hold in store for us. He begins by warning us that machines are not infallible. The 21st century is already here. With all the Pima nations of what is going to be possible in the next 30 years with the acceleration of all the developments which I know and presses we do know what the trend central menacingly could be. As the chairman pointed out with the menace goes a promise but the moment we are looking very much at the minutes we don't need a crystal ball to
see the 20th century. A blind man can smell it in the smog. The night the lights went out all to be I remembered warning of what happens when we. Become dependent on the M-Pesa ally's systems and deep tests and lies people. What I call the numbers man and the numbers machine on the faceless people whom we cannot call to account but the kind we can't identify and the machines which require. The reputation of infallibility. That night I just dunking on. We had the Spartacus revolution that night. It was a rebellion of a slave electrons. We acquiesce in the alteration of our rights because we don't stop to think well perhaps of no means of knowing what is happening. And this is true in most of the. Areas of our life today
that we are accepting gadgetry and systems. Just because we are not examining the gadgetry of the system. Lord Calder explains the concept of the no wall computer its capabilities and its dangers. Here he advocates determined opposition by all men to such a system. We have already had discussions in the United States and Britain on the monster memory. This would be the know all computer. Now. It's very plausible. What's wrong. By bringing together information which in scattered detail already exists in Britain for example. We have a National Health Service. And with him from that national health one could have a complete health dossier recording one's childhood measles that incipient Chewbacca lushes at the age of 16. The latest fillings in bridge with the dentist installed the prescription for one
spectacles. The Nevers breakdown one had when one was jilted and so on and so on. Alongside that would be the police record including one's fingerprints. Once traffic summonses and of course the secret dossier all the time when the security officers checked up and questioned one's neighbors and the gal a friend who jolted one. One's picture either a passport or a casual camera. I would bet that the conversation on tape which you never knew would be needed struck with one's employment records including the time on how to RA with the boss and walked out for good reason. One's social status including one's bank account. The mortgage House and the income tax of one's clubs one's political affiliation one's educational history and so on individual A and in proper hands. These details would be harmless enough but out of time and out of context and in conjunction with dissimilar
information it would produce not a portrait. But a completely misleading identikit such as the police procedures of suspects. In short the information in the computer could accidentally or deliberately get into the hands of unauthorized people. I myself asserted that there ever should be and there shouldn't be a master memory of this kind I have and all you will resist the idea. Of this kind of. Compound. Remember it all to have a built in time bomb and preprogramed to blow itself up if a not a hit. Comes. The threat to privacy is one thing but I know it's a very serious thing for all of us individually. But the attitude which we are adopting to the computer is another dangerous day. The people who are the most anxious in my experience about a computer the computer man themselves and
they're shown as we found in a debate in the house of laws on this very subject. Well the people who are most anxious when in fact those laws who did know what the computer was all about. And they have holes where the president of the British Computer Society said there was no known system. The security code which has not been broken within six months. Machines have replaced men and groups of men and a wide range of work levels. But can the facts and analysis of a computer ever become a suitable substitute for a man's judgement based on a combination of facts and experience. Richie Calder says no he feels that this is another area for a change in people's attitudes. It's still true that a computer cannot make value judgements but. Ladies and gentlemen we've now got to the stage where facts can be made to masquerade as judgments. There are high executives
and just commerce today who are out of work. Because of the job has been taken over by the machines which they han you see they were the hunch man who by a lifetime of experience had been able to make business judgments in the light of that experience. But now the youngest member of the board armed with massive data from the computer can question those doctrines of his betters on seniors as a set of operational research in the war. It's substituted numerical thinking for gusts of emotion and we have substituted new medical thinking in the. In the computer for the gust of emotion. All the insights which which are used to run out of the quandary of executives and their position is they cannot reject a computer on which to spend spend all that stockholders money. They have to believe as in what it produces. Now this is
producing a new situation in which as I say facts themselves are beginning to masquerade as judgments because you cannot question the facts. Because you hide. Now let's put it at an up an apocalyptic level. The computer judgment day. Now we understand that the nuclear early warning system is now completely computerized and the risk of human error like mistaking a flight of Canadian geese for a cell of Soviet missiles was nearly produced a strike. Attack on Moscow. All that is now human. Has now been eliminated and we are entirely in. The hands of the computer on the instant reprisal system. The president of the United States the commander in chief has a map margin of 15 minutes in which to decide the state of the fate of mankind to decide
whether to unleash massive retaliation is a judgment his decision has to be made on the evidence of the computer. He cannot at that stage are asked whether there might be a faulty transistor. Whether there might be a dubious hit on whether in fact there was a piece of bad programming. He must except in that situation. As infallible to that extent it has removed his job. At least as left on Monday with a yes no. Judgement. Lord Calder says that we have reached a point where man himself can be programmed by a computer. He gives a specific example of this which he calls the human concept today. The human being not only programs a computer their computer can program the human being here in the United States. I first had the horrific phrase human sense
human sense. It was in connection with the job law and how to train the dropouts to fit into the industrial system. A group of academics has surveyed industry to find job specifications for which these dropouts might be suitable. They tested the subjects the human being the individual dropouts for and not for intelligence not for the intelligence that was embarrassing. That could have been a handicap but for aptitude they devised teaching about a truce where the impersonal computer could given individual tuition and cubicles their computer was to coach any innate skill to meet the job specification. No mall no less. The product would be a human cassette like the foolproof spool one slips into a tape recorder was full proof back when slips into account camera. The human cassette is something to be slipped into the machine system to supply that bit of the production line that the production
engineer has not yet got around to automating But will and when the human just set has served his temporary purpose. Oh it's quite simple. He will then be retrained reimplemented light demagnetizing according to tape and using it again. When I asked what happened in this precious to imagination on job satisfaction the leading expert of this group admitted that was a fair question. And they were getting around to it. They were setting up a project for programming creativity. I don't need to remind anyone here that that is a contradiction in terms. One cannot program creativity. We can only liberate. Now we are faced in this situation. With the capacity of the machine of the computer in this case to fill most of the work if you like. Of human beings with in our economy
some of the faculties of the human brain cell. The. Computer is one of the greatest advances ever made by Homo Sapien. It can revolutionize commercial practice as we know and it can through cybernetics and automation increase the material consumer goods. The means of your light for a so-called fuller life. So we can call it in a benevolent moment. A good thing. So is dynamite in the hands of excavating so it in-town a combustion engine and the hands of a good driver. So is LSD as prescribed by a clinical psychiatrist. And so is nuclear energy in a peaceful generating station. The good or evil of the computer like the good or evil of every scientific and technological advance is a humanist an ethical problem. All the fuss Max Lord Calder talks about what he considers to be another ethical problem and experimentation with deoxyribonucleic acid
commonly referred to as this body chemical found in genes is associated with the transmission of physical characteristics from one generation to another. Mr Calder has some far reaching considerations for DNA experimentation. Now I want to deal with another aspect which I think should concern us as human as even more. Than the machine of the computer or anything of these kind. I'm talking now about the DNA of biological engineering revolution. We know what we did with the secret of matter. We exploded it is a cataclysmic bomb. We haven't caught up with the model all the military all the political consequences of that yet. Since 1945 when the SE's break has forced the lock of the nucleus before the locksmiths knew how it worked and released nuclear energy violently. We spent billions of dollars
in all countries. Providing high voltage accelerators for nuclear physicists to find out what the fundamental particles the wards of the lock of the nucleus really are. I say we went in before we knew what it was all about. And we produced a bomb. What we are playing about now in DNA deoxyribonucleic acid is the secret of life and we don't know what we're going to do with it once we've got it. The experts know these little blinkered experts know all these committed men because they can modify jobs and turn them into biological warfare. A British scientist died of a job which he invented which the DNA mutated and then that one of these eminent colleagues said to me when it happened thank God he didn't sneeze. He could have started a world epidemic against which there would have been no natural immunity. In the course of
time and it's only a matter of time which gets shorter and shorter every day we should be able to transpose or dispose the DNA groupings. The code to read it so that we can determine artificially how cells will behave how wrong we should correct the misbehavior of the cells which we call cancer which will modify hereditary defect which will improve the species. Iraq again. But who are we. Who are we. The Nats is how the idea of a master race. They try to breed it from pure Adam stop. They try to eliminate inferior breeds in the gas chamber or to experiment with them in biological abattoirs of the concentration camps. Now we who are we will decide on the DNA place prescription of this man. Now I'm not one of those regards this with. Pious heart of interfering with the laws of nature because we have to do that very drastically in terms of contraception if mankind is not to be
overtaken by calamity. But I do suggest that there are profound Ezekial problems involving the manipulation of the presses of evolution. Lord Ritchie Calder concludes with a proposal to all scientists asks them to evaluate the ethics of science and he suggests that institutions be formed by scientists to put some constraints on scientific experimentation or technological applications which could prove to be dangerous or harmful. I believe that the time has come. When we must insist on the moral responsibility of the scientists and redefine the ethic of science. The multiplication of disparate and separate discoveries is justified. Why single minded expends as a contribution to knowledge is now becoming cumulatively and without responsible oversight. A manifest danger I have is the consultant to the Human Rights Division of the United Nations recently that suggested
that we bring together a body of wise men from all over the world and from divest cultures to consider the inventor of mischief actual and potential. They must and we must now have a basis of a working philosophy. They must propose instruments and institutions legal and professional which can apply some form of constraint. There are no glib answers to this subject. We do not want a modern Inquisition telling inquiring minds what they must not inquire into but scientists must be the trustee of the knowledge their class. They must as functional citizens keep us informed they must advise us so that we can consent. But that is still too simplistic. The dangers lie in the applications of science through technology. And that is where the smash and grab is today. We don't
have to use something we shouldn't have to use something just because it exists. We don't. Have to be seduced into buying things that we never knew we wanted. Much of the time I because of military and industrial secrets say we don't know what is being dreamt up until it happen like the Hiroshima bomb contrived behind the sky high fences of Manhattan project secrecy. Apart from producing a cataclysmic weapon that crash program. Of the Manhattan Project introduced an entirely new time kind of calibration into human affairs. And I want to stress this very much. The time calibration has changed and that is our great Di lemma. Predicament today. The time calibration was changed. It took a fundamental scientific discovery and by mobilizing the scientists and engineers the knowledge and the materials and the
technological potential of the United States industry. The Manhattan Project converted the secret of matter into a bomb within six years. It cut the time scale from centrist to Dick age from decades to years and from years to months. It's set the pattern. For all time. It set the pattern. For the computer revolution and for the space program we can recognize the evil of the atomic bomb all the biological and chemical. But it is not always easy. During first see the consequences of doing good. And this is another thing which we have to put to the wise man. If we have a get we can date a nuclear explosion to the last countdown second July the 16th 1945 5:00 a.m. on the dot. We cannot date the population explosion with that precision. But the fuse reset
the 10 years Ellie in February 19 35. A young German girl was dying of generalized septicemia. Those doctors couldn't think how desperate father injected into. A red dye. The girl lived. The red dye was controversial the first of the sulfa drugs. The father was God how don't mock. Who used it. Well I'd use that experimentally on my it's legally infected with streptococcus and they had survived. But he never used and or used it on his daughter. It's never been used clinically it's immediate spectacular yours was in town to a hospital in London when Charlie. Well those were dying from cross infection of Child bed fever. It proved its effectiveness. It showed that as of the specific diseases could be killed within the living body five years later Florey and chain. I don't know the look at the penicillin which Fleming and discovered 10 years before Mothers were saved from diseases of
child. To have more children. Toddlers were saved from the infections of childhood to grow up to marry and to multiply the ravages of adult diseases like malaria and you also look at. And people lived long. That's Reeve had what we call the population explosion was a present figure of three thousand six hundred million. Predictably rising to twice that figure by the turn of the century. Let's be quite clear ladies and gents this is not a great orgy of procreation. Parents are not having more children. More children are surviving today. How is the population of the world is under 15 years of age. Medical science has given us death control which must be redressed by birth control who most happens is the only species which can separate sex from reproduction. Oh misapprehensions has to separate
sex from reproduction. Otherwise he faces calamity. Now in the same way hell bent technology isn't listening into the environment in which all live depends. The waste of so-called prosperity. I said that pollution is a crime. Crime compounded of avarice and ignorance. The avarice is manifest with industry greedy for profits and as a society greedy for gadgets. We are squandering and destroying the results is all of this planet with spewing out fumes from our chimney is now exhausted. We are pointing out noxious effluent into our living waters and into the last results of mankind. The ocean where weaving the treasury of jet tracks which are interfering with our weather system. We are bringing up from the vaults of the the coal in the art of carbon which nature had locked away in geological time
and beyond the capacity of the natural carbon cycle to deal with it. We are adding 6 billion tons of carbon a year to the atmosphere. This can drastically alter our climate. We also badly damaging and squandering our water water resources. So I predict legend that bit beyond the freedom from hunger campaign the freedom from hunger campaign that we've had which will have to have very soon freedom from theft and mankind will be degraded degraded from wallowing in its own filth. We are legend John and the younger generation. We are just the options of post-editing homo sapien. Thinking man is being menaced by a homo incipient. I'm thinking in another
rational world. Reason must prevail. Northeastern University has brought you Lord Ritchie Calder's author and noted British Humanist. Today's programme. Man versus machine. In 1984 a struggle for survival. The views and opinions expressed on the preceding programme were not necessarily those of Northeastern University or this station. This week's programme most bird used by Dave Brown in cooperation with the international humanist and Ethical Union. Directed by Pan Hudner with technical supervision by
Urban Confrontation
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Man vs. Machine in 1984: A Struggle for Survival
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Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Urban Confrontation is an analysis of the continuing crises facing 20th century man in the American city, covering issues such as campus riots, assassinations, the internal disintegration of cities, and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. Produced for the Office of Educational Resources at the Communications Center of the nations largest private university, Northeastern University.
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Producing Organization: Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
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Identifier: 70-5-49 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Chicago: “Urban Confrontation; 49; Man vs. Machine in 1984: A Struggle for Survival,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 27, 2023,
MLA: “Urban Confrontation; 49; Man vs. Machine in 1984: A Struggle for Survival.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 27, 2023. <>.
APA: Urban Confrontation; 49; Man vs. Machine in 1984: A Struggle for Survival. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from