Hewlett Packard HP35 Electronic Slide Rule “Prosthetic”
As a 6i and a 6ii student at Bedales school at Petersfield Hants England, the timber slide-ruler was the distinguishing mark of a Physics science student, even though I was one of those “odd ones”, who crossed the picket line in doing an “A” Level in Art and did pretty well at it; I also carried a timber oil paint brush.
In 1972 as a second year Bartlett student at University College London, I got one of those prized first Hewlett Packard HP-35 with it’s quirky red coloured LED 15 places displays which was the first handheld electronic calculator sold by HP, and the first handheld ever to perform logarithmic and trigonometric functions with one keystroke. In effect it was the world’s first electronic slide rule; and this prosthetic quickly replaced my slide-ruler as my prosthetic of choice.
For me personally, Artificial Intelligence or “AI” began with my first HP-35 in 1972, where the enormous calculating power of the IC processing chip became a virtual “prosthetic” to my human-mind and psyche and which preceded Star-Trek’s Cyborgs, where processors and software were hardwired into the cerebral mass. In the first AI was used as a soma-cybernetic “prosthetics” to enhanced and augment the human mind and in the latter Star Trek’s Cyborgs where processors were hardwired into the cerebral mass, AI was portrayed as reducing the Human Being with the result of regressing the human psyche and spirit.
The science fiction writers behind Star-Trek continue to be right,