Review Of Simon Schaffer Article “Babbage’s Intelligence” Essay

In Simon Schaffer article “Babbage’s Intelligence” the author claims that machine intelligence have made our lives easier. It can be used in many forms and by anyone. People can use it for spying, security, entertainment, management etc. It depends on the user how they want to use it. From the article we get to know the two interests of Babbage that is mathematics, astronomy and surveillance, labor division.

He was dissatisfied by how things work in UK which led to invention of the Analytical Engine. He made it to improve navigation, increase speed of large calculations etc. According to Schaffer the key features of Analytical Engine were the large amount of memory and the anticipation. Babbage believed that when people work on large calculations it leads to errors, delays, no coordination that is bad for both the manager and the employs. To avoid this situation he made the analytical and difference engine.

From the above example we can clearly see that how switching to machine intelligence has helped making the work simpler. Further Schaffer argues that how the two interests of Babbage are interrelated. Babbage worked on the mechanism of how the factory should worked so that maximum output is achieved. This was called the Babbage’s principle. In his opinion the replacement of human intelligence to machine intelligence is politically and economically necessary. In the article Schaffer’s goal is to connect the meaning of intelligence. First intelligence as information and second as the magnitude for thinking. Schaffer believes that Babbage uses intelligence for surveillance on people, to use it in working places. Schaffer gives reason for a distinct relationship between the work done by Babbage, which was on the Difference Engine and his political economy. At one point of the article Schaffer argues that the conflict between Babbage and Clement was not only the inability to come on terms but rather a battle between ideology of science and labor. Also from the article we can clearly notice how Babbage used his Difference engine as politics by displaying it in the house parties along with the danseuse.

By this he impressed and influenced Charles Darwin and he used Babbage’s system as an analogue for origin of species by natural law without divine intervention. From the article it can interpreted that Babbage’s inventions has helped us in modifying previous machinery to innovate new things such as the modern day computer. His principle of division of labor has helped us to understand the factory mechanism. It can be predicted that in coming years we will be more reliable on machines rather than on humans.

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