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