The Nobel prize-winning author of "A Different Universe" argues that ours is an age of disinformation and ignorance, in which access to knowledge is becoming increasingly restricted and even criminalized. We like to believe that in our modern, technologically advanced world, information is more freely available and flows faster than ever before, and that this free flow of ideas is behind our remarkable creativity. The second part is right: the free flow of ideas is indeed essential to creativity. But according to Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin, many forces in the modern world conspire to make acquiring information a danger or even a crime. More and more of the really valuable information is private property or a state secret, with the result being that it is now easy for a flash of insight, entirely innocently, to infringe a patent or threaten national security.Within the past ten years it has become illegal to circumvent anti-piracy measures (i.e. to understand encrypted communication) or to distribute code-cracking devices; it is now legal for corporations to monopolize certain forms of communication; and it is possible to patent sales techniques, hiring strategies, and gene sequences.
Broad areas of two sciences, physics and biology, are now off limits to public discourse because they are national security risks. Our society is sequestering knowledge more rapidly and thoroughly than any before it.Thus we find ourselves dealing more and more with the bizarre concept of the Crime of Reason, the antisocial and sometimes outright illegal nature of certain intellectual activities. The increasing restrictions on such fertile scientific and technological fields as cryptography, biotechnology, and computer software design are creating a new Dark Age: a time characterized not by light and truth but by disinformation and ignorance. This short, passionately argued book, by a Nobel laureate in physics, offers a stern warning and protest against our apparent collective decision to relinquish our intellectual rights.
Buy Crime of Reason book by Robert B. Laughlin from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(210mm x 140mm x 23mm)
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
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Author Biography - Robert B. Laughlin
Robert Laughlin is Professor of Physics at Stanford University, where he has taught since 1985. In 1998 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the fractional quantum Hall effect. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His previous book, A Different Universe was published by Basic Books in 2005. He lives in Stanford, California.