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May 17, 1965

Man and Machine Calculating the Mind

Author Affiliations

Rochester, Minn

JAMA. 1965;192(7):646. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080200064029

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To the Editor:—  My colleagues, Drs. Swenson, Pearson, Brannick, and I regret Dr. Bersoff's misconstruction of the intent of our efforts. Perhaps it is his admitted "violence" in struggling to "muster... as rational and objective language as I can" which prevents him from seeing this study as an heuristic device with which to catalyze and not replace what we have said is the complex problem of communication among physicians, their patients, and their consulting colleagues.His pronouncement of anathema brings to mind the commentary of the late Norbert Weiner (God and Golem Inc, Cambridge, Mass: M.I.T. Press, 1964, p 5):"But even in the field of science, it is perilous to run counter to the accepted tables of precedence. On no account is it permissible to mention living beings and machines in the same breath.... If we adhere to all these taboos, we may acquire a great reputation as conservative

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