About this book
In 1985 it was 20 years since Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Simon published: 'THE SHAPE OF AUTOMATION: For Men and Management'. This short but important and still topical book dwells on three subjects: - The Long-Range Economic Effects of Automation; - Will the Corporation be Managed by Machines? - The New Science of Management Decision. In contrast with George Orwell, who was a critic of contemporary political systems rather than a prophet, Simon portrays a far more rosy picture of our 'brave new world'. Simon's work breathes optimism. First, computer technology; looking back it is aoubtful whether even the professor expected the hardware development ~e have wittnessed. Secondly, our ability to 'tame the beast'; there is now not much reason for complacency and satisfaction. Offices and factories can by no means be called automated, at most semi-automated. Thirdly the organizational and social implications of these rapid technological developments; referring to what he then called: 'The Computer and the new decision making techniques ..• ' Concerning this last point, there is little need to emphasize that had been less practical application in organizations than the often impressive theoretical developments would lead one to believe. In Europe this situation is even more accute than in the USA and Japan. The ESPRIT programme of the ECC and many similar national programs intend to bridge the gap.
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