Magazine article The Nation

The Computer & Me

Magazine article The Nation

The Computer & Me

Article excerpt

Ipressed the Complaints key. And I complained about the wall the United States is building on the border with Mexico. A steel wall that is supposed to block the free circulation of people while the free trade agreement guarantees the free circulation of money.

The computer answered: "It is not a wall. It is a work of art. A giant monument in memory of the martyrs of the ignominious Berlin wall."

I pressed Doubts. I thought I'd bring up the subject of laws against immigrants. Laws already passed, like California's Proposition 187, that do away with the rights of illegal immigrants, and laws proposed to eliminate the rights of legal immigrants too. My doubt is: Are these supposed to benefit the Indians? Since the United States is a nation of immigrants, only the Indians, the Native Americans, would be spared. It struck me as a rather moving gesture: a grand expiation after so much crime and scorn. But the machine set me straight: In America everyone's an immigrant, the Indians too. They came from Asia 30,000 years ago. The laws will admit no exceptions.

I pressed Fears. I asked if there were some sort of magic ink for bathing Latin American workers every day at dusk, so they'd be invisible after their long day in the fields and streets of the North. It might resolve the bothersome presence of Mexican and Central American braceros in towns and cities across the United States.

"Not yet," said the computer.

I asked if it was true that they were going to open a U.S. Embassy in the United States of America, right in Washington, so the C. …

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