Thomas Rid’s revelatory history of cybernetics pulls together disparate threads in the history of technology, from the invention of radar and pilotless flying bombs in World War Two to today’s age of CCTV, cryptocurrencies and Oculus Rift, to make plain that our current anxieties about privacy and security will be emphatically at the crux of the new digital future that we have been steadily, sometimes inadvertently, creating for ourselves. Rise of the Machines makes a singular and significant contribution to the advancement of our clearer understanding of that future – and of the past that has generated it.
PRAISE FOR THOMAS RID
‘A fascinating survey of the oscillating hopes and fears expressed by the cybernetic mythos.’ The Wall Street Journal
‘Thoughtful, enlightening … a mélange of history, media studies, political science, military engineering and, yes, etymology … A meticulous yet startling alternate history of computation.’ New Scientist
‘The major disruptions in our modern society all belong to one big story. A common theme connects war machines, computer networks, social media, ubiquitous surveillance and virtual reality. For 50 years or more the same people and the same ideas weave through these innovations united by the term cyber, as in cyberspace and cybernetics. Read this amazing history and you'll go: aha!’