Books: Byting Back

THE SECOND SELF: COMPUTERS AND THE HUMAN SPIRIT by Sherry Turkle Simon & Schuster; 362 pages; $17.95

When a talking electronic game chides a child of six for a wrong answer, she talks back to it. "My God," says her mother, "she treats that thing like a person. Do you suppose she thinks that people are machines?" She may indeed, according to Author Sherry Turkle, an M.I.T. sociologist and psychologist. And as this study makes clear, that little girl is part of a cultural upheaval.

Bookstore shelves sag under the weight of volumes quantifying what computers will do for our math, medicine and...

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