Computers can be programmed to win, but not to play

………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Shah of Brapuhr, a character in Kurt Vonnegut’s novel “Player Piano,” is given a State Department tour of a futuristic United States that is run entirely by the EPICAC computer, housed in Carlsbad Caverns. EPICAC decides what goods need to be produced and which machines will produce them. It determines the fate of every individual by evaluating standardized tests, then assigning each citizen to one of two worlds: a world of privilege and responsibility for managers and engineers and a world of ordinary comfort and pointlessness for everyone else. Everyone is employed by the government, mostly in make-work jobs, because the machines do everything. It is a society…


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