Retro SciFi Film of the Week…

The Twilight Zone: The Brain Center at Whipple's (1964)

Several Twilight Zone episodes dealt with machines coming to life or taking over or messing things up. In this one the protagonist is a heartless company president who lays off a bunch of workers at his factory and replaces them with computers.

During the late 50s and early 60s there was a Liddite surge in response to computers that had begun to replace mechanical and electromechanical tabulating machines. The old tabulating machines required a lot of manual labor to operate and maintain them. The new computers were replacing a lot of workers, so some people were upset about it. (Of course all those jobs working with the tabulating machines would never have existed if those machines hadn't replaced the human computers and tabulators who did the calculating in the 19th century.)

Computers began to ship in larger quantities in the early 60s because they started to use transistors which reduced the costs significantly compared to the vacuum tube models.

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, I highly recommend a revisit of this episode with its timely narrative.

Accessible video description:

A man is watching a film with a company president talking about how a new computer is going to save the company a lot of money, the company president is a bald-headed guy with glasses wearing a suit, he is writing on a chalkboard, the man watching the film is sitting near the projector; then the guy who was in the film is now talking to the man who was viewing the film and asking him for his critique; cut to a guy who picks up a metal bar and starts hitting a computer causing sparks to fly and the bald-headed man grabs a gun and shoots at the guy hitting the computer; then a guy in a lab coat talks to the president about how bad it is now that nobody is working at the company and how empty it is and then the guy in the lab coat walks out; cut to the end title Twilight Zone.

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(fair use clips from the episode)

spoiler- TZ: The Brain Center at Whipple's 

***** Spoiler *****

The Twilight Zone: The Brain Center at Whipple's (1964)

In this Twilight Zone episode the manager who is firing everybody thought that his job was safe but in the end he got laid off too, and replaced with Robby the Robot. 🤖

This is similar to what's going on right now as AI is starting to do the work of jobs that people had assumed were safe; actors, writers, musicians, programmers, artists; so the backlash from this most recent change is going to be broad. Hang on…

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