IN THIS CHAPTER
Man is a shrewd inventor, and is ever taking the hint of a new machine from his own structure, adapting some secret of his own anatomy in iron, wood, and leather, to some required function in the work of the world.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson's concept of a “machine” was decidedly low-tech (“iron, wood, and leather”), but his basic idea is still apt in these high-tech times. Man has taken yet another “secret of his own anatomy”—the brain—and used it as the “hint of a new machine”—the computer. And although even the most advanced computer is still a mere toy compared to the breathtaking complexity ...