THE idea of a ‘mechanical man’ has receded into the background since the advent of the mechanical age. When practically all our necessities are pro- vided by automatic or semi-automatic machines, there is no necessity to construct things having the external appearance of men and doing our bidding. They would do it much more effectively if they were specially designed for the job. Yet it is interesting to follow the author's account of modern efforts towards complete automatism, from the sorting of letters to the self-steering aeroplane. He recognises that mechanisation has worked both ways, and that, while machines have been endowed with almost human faculties, man himself has become mechanised, inasmuch as civilisation and humanitarianism tend to “create communities of well-washed, well-fed, well-regulated, well-behaved, mildly cultured people as devoid of all individuality as machine-made automata”. An eminently readable essay.
Automaton: or the Future of the Mechanical Man.
By. (To-day and To-morrow Series.) Pp. 100. (London: Kegan Paul and Co., Ltd.; New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., 1928.) 2s. 6d. net.