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The Crime of Reason: And the Closing of the Scientific Mindby Robert B Laughlin
Synopses & Reviews
We all agree that the free flow of ideas is essential to creativity. And we like to believe that in our modern, technological world, information is more freely available and flows faster than ever before. But according to Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin, acquiring information is becoming a danger or even a crime. Increasingly, the really valuable information is private property or a state secret, with the result that it is now easy for a flash of insight, entirely innocently, to infringe a patent or threaten national security. The public pays little attention because this vital information is technical”—but, Laughlin argues, information is often labeled technical so it can be sequestered, not sequestered because its technical. The increasing restrictions on information in such fields as cryptography, biotechnology, and computer software design are creating a new Dark
A Nobel Laureate physicist argues that ours is not an age of information but an age of disinformation and ignorance, where access to knowledge is becoming increasingly restricted and even criminalized.
Many of us believe that in our modern, Internet-enabled world, information is more freely available than ever before. But according to physicist Robert Laughlin, this is a dangerous delusion. Not only are we surrounded by mounting volumes of advertising and spam, but a great deal of truly valuable information is increasingly classified or designated as private property. A flash of insight can become a patent infringement or threat to national security. Free intellectual inquiry—once valued and honored—has become an antisocial and often illegal activity. And the act of reasoning for oneself is becoming a crime.
A passionately argued book, The Crime of Reason offers a stern warning that this involuntary decision to relinquish our intellectual rights may lead America into a new Dark Age.
About the Author
Robert B. Laughlin is the Robert M. and Anne Bass Professor of Physics at Stanford University, where he has taught since 1985. In 1998 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the fractional quantum Hall effect. The author of A Different Universe, he lives in Stanford, California.
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