Computers: Towers with Minds of Their Own

New high-tech buildings practically run themselves

Soaring 45 stories over downtown Dallas, the office tower called Lincoln Plaza looks like nothing more than an especially elegant variation on the modern commercial building. Mahogany granite and smoked glass combine to give it a handsome, robust exterior. Full-grown, verdant trees shade its attractive walkways, and at the apex of its triangular base a small waterfall gurgles and sparkles in the sun. Lincoln Plaza is not only beautiful -- it has brains. Computers and closed-circuit monitors check the temperature on each floor, the location of every elevator and the status of all doors (locked or unlocked). When a clerical worker...

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