The Computer Revolts
William Blackburn is a professor of English at the University of
SAMCO (System of Advanced Memory for Computer Observations) is the most advanced computer in the world — advanced enough to have human responses to events. Having become bored with routine mechanical operations, it consistently malfunctions. Its frustrated inventor decides that SAMCO needs more advanced tasks and programs it to take over the selection process when people apply for jobs with the company. SAMCO rejects a candidate who is suffering from reactive depression, for SAMCO does not understand human emotion. When the frustrated and rejected applicant rages at SAMCO, the computer itself suffers a reactive depression. The team responsible for SAMCO realizes that the only way to cure the computer is by teaching it to understand and deal with human emotion by working with the rejected applicant — despite the hostility of the Board of Directors and the medical profession. Both patients are cured — and the members of the team learn a good deal about themselves as human beings in the process.
Psychologically astute, well written, and deftly translated, The Computer Revolts is a fine novel for young adolescents, especially those interested in computers. An appended glossary should help readers learn more about computers — and also increase, as the novel itself increases, their understanding of the problems involved in growing up, while increasing their confidence in their own ability to deal successfully with such problems.