1 Oct 2007
Computer power and human reason by Joseph Weizenbaum
This was a seminal work in exploring themes of computing, artificial intelligence and the limits of technology by Joseph Weizenbaum, MIT professor and social thinker. He considered that computers will always lack human emotions and compassion, and that this would define the limits of how far technology should be allowed to progress.
Joseph died in March 2008, having returned to his native Berlin, Germany. Having the most presentable car back in 1978, I was the natural choice to drive him from Toronto airport to a lecture at the University of Waterloo Computer Science Club. I recall with fondness an engaging conversation with Joseph, who was a brilliant, yet very approachable, person. I would also point people to an excellent documentary film on his life: Weizenbaum. Rebel at Work.