July 24, 1967


JAMA. 1967;201(4):261-262. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130040057017

Technological progress often generates anxiety. Fear of labor-saving machines, all-pervasive among factory workers during the earlier years of the industrial era, lingers on. And even now there are some who, seemingly secure in their jobs, view with apprehension the arrival of each new mechanical device.

Automation adds new anxieties. The computer casts a shadow which extends beyond factory confines into executive and professional offices. Much as the less sophisticated machines menaced the unskilled laborer, now the electronic "brain" seems to threaten those whose livelihood depends on their mental faculties. Many administrators, executives, managers and other white collar workers are apprehensive about displacement by automated machines or worried about inability to master new computer techniques of information processing. And their uneasiness persists despite frequent repeated assurances by electronics experts that the fears are unwarranted.

Anxiety is contagious. Even the physician, who is neither administrator nor executive, is not entirely free from