Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Forces of Production: A Social History of Industrial Automation Paperback – February 25, 1986
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
"A prodigious accomplishment." --The New York Review of Books
"Rich and absorbing....It is truly a definitive work and will doubtless serve to redirect research in the field."--Reviews in American History
"[Provides] superbly researched, in-depth data....This story is fascinating and well told."--The New York Times Book Review
"Pioneering work on a major development in late 20th-century history."--Lawrence B. de Graef, California State University, Fullerton
From the Back Cover
Top Customer Reviews
The Smithsonian Institution recently thought fit to exhibit Daisy's shortened Levi's from the 1970s television series The Dukes of Hazzard.
The infantilism is that the author of Forces of Production, David Noble, was a serious and pro-labor voice who worked at the Smithsonian in the 1970s and was forced out under Reagan...in favor of Daisy's shorts, it appears.
The subject of Forces of Production may seem to be specialized for overtly it is on numerically-controlled machine tools, nowadays a very small application of computers. Nonetheless this book can be read in the context, not only of machine tools but also of computerization in general.
Noble's book is an account of management folly. Machine tool automation was implemented to eliminate not the unskilled but men like my great-grandfather: machinists who had the nerve to set their own pace, and to design as they saw fit tools to accomplish their job.
The machinist occupies in the world of physical tools somewhat the same space as is occupied by the advanced programmer since the machinist has the choice, in a well-run shop, of deciding not to fashion the part that management wants, but instead to fashion a tool that will in turn make the part that management wants...faster, more accurately and in the long and short run cheaper.
Like Harry Braverman's Labor and Monopoly Capital, Noble shows how this economic rationality was subverted by the high priests of economic rationality: the CEOs.Read more ›
In its inception in the early 1950's it is likely that the professors and graduate students of M.I.T.'s Servo Mechanisms Laboratory named it Numerical Control because they envisioned a broader concept of social control via digital means. NC/CNC turned out not to be the path to this end; the path has been through the PC and the WWW. In view of this, I have argued that the technology should be called NDI for numerically directed interpolation because this is what it does. It directs a cutting tool to interpolate a path in the work envelop of the machine.
The book could have done better in defining interpolation - you did interpolation in kindergarten when you connected the dots in sequential order with straight lines to reveal a figure. It could have done better in explaining how Cartesian (geometric) information is processed into setpoints to position servos to cause the tool to interpolate a path in the work envelope of the machine. This explanation is central to understanding the difference between John Parson's by-the-numbers positioning concept and the much more sophisticated interpolation technology developed by M.I.T.
Our most current CNC is provisioned with spline algorithms that interpolate a curve from Cartesian points. The algorithms render curves as sequences of piecewise continuous parametric polynomials and these polynomials are sampled on a time grid to issue setpoints to position servos.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
" This is not a book about American technology, but about American technology" so Noble began this important book in 1984 when computerization had truly taken hold of American... Read morePublished on February 14, 2012 by Elizabeth, the Traveler (Atlanta, Georgia)
It's a testament to David Noble's writing ability that he's crafted such a fascinating book from the topic of industrial automation. Read morePublished on May 12, 2010 by Kevin Lindsey