THE MYTHS OF AUTOMATION by Charles E. Silberman
Kirkus Star


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He doesn't go quite so far as to say that there is no such crittur, but Mr. Silberman of Fortune certainly does attack enough of the basic assumptions on which so many fears, hopes, and prophesies on the subject of automation have been built in recent years. This book seems likely to attract as much attention as his remarkable study of racial problems, Crisis in Black and White. ""Controversial"" is a mild word for the probable impact of a work taking issue with the ideas of, among others, Donald N. Michael (coiner of the term cybernation), Marshall McLuhan, and the whole Ad Hoc Committee on the Triple Revolution. All these thinkers ""have grossly exaggerated the economic impact of automation,"" says this author. Contrary to projected trends, for example, he finds that the percentage of blue collar workers is rising rather than falling; that unemployment among today's youth is due to a tremendous increase in their absolute numbers rather than to any other factor; and that full automation in any industry won't occur for a very long time. Facts and arguments are presented with formidable clarity; so are his analyses of other views. There will be an unautomated reaction.

Publisher: Harper & Row