Quote of the Day: Vonnegut, PLAYER PIANO

In the world of Player Piano, the manager of a factory chastises an employee (Katherine) for screening visitors to the factory individually.

“There are all sorts of special decisions I have to make,” said Katherine defensively. “I mean, all sorts of things come up that require more than routine thought — more than any old machine could do.”

The manager responds: “Either the visitor is a nonentity, a friend, an employee, small brass, or big brass. The guard presses one of five buttons in the top row on the box. See it? Either the visitor is sight-seein’, inspectin’, makin’ a personal call, or here on business. The guard pushes one of four buttons in that row. The machine has two lights, a red one for no, and a green one for yes. Whatever the policy is, bingo! — the lights tell him what to do.”

The point the manager wishes to make: “Policy isn’t thinkin’. It’s a reflex.”

You know what? Self is beginning to like this book.

Stay tuned.

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