Burke, James, Connections, "The Wheel of Fortune"

From Clockworks2
Jump to navigationJump to search

"The Wheel of Fortune." Connections (An Alternative View of Change by James Burke). BBC 1978. Written and Presented by James Burke. Available in the USA as a BBC-TV/Time Life Television Co-Production.

Traces the origin of the computer and its implications for the future (as of the late 1970s). Opening sequence shows a computer-assisted planetarium, giving a striking image of computer control, an insectoid-appearing machine (the planetarium), and the universe projected by the planetarium. Also uses a modern-made, expanded orrery, so to speak, giving a mechanical vision of the mechanical (small-"p") ptolemaic universe (but primarily the solar system) passed on to Europe by the Arabs—explicitly identified as "a belief in a mechanical universe whose signs could be read, for the benefit of mankind, trapped inside it." First set of inventions dealt with: medieval clocks. Next sequence: secularization of clocks: from telling people when to pray to telling people when to work—then on to later clocks, machine tools, interchangeable parts, mass production, the factory system, the time/motion study, and the "price": "the way our lives have to become an extension of the production line." Final images: JB with huge clock, in front of a production line with identical cookies of little humans.