Sam Smith, 1964 – They’ve got a computer up at the Mayo Clinic that takes a patient’s answers to 550 true-false questions and uses the information to indicate whether he should see a psychiatrist. The machine comes up with diagnoses such as: “Patient is probably somewhat eccentric, seclusive and withdrawn. Has many internal conflicts. Consider psychiatric evaluation.” And, according to a news report, “it picks out not only the patient in mental trouble but can also print: “Patient quite well organized in thinking. Follows instructions.’ ” It is, I suppose, to be expected of a creature of the machine age that it scorn eccentricity, seclusion, withdrawal and internal conflicts in favor of “following instructions.” It lives a life without philosophical or moral complexity so it is only natural that it believe we should also.
Undernews: A computerized personality test