This is a story about misuse of computer technology. Interestingly, Michael Crichton published the computer code featured in the story in the Compute! magazine.
In 1968 Michael Crichton began his collaboration with the Playboy magazine, with two short stories published within three years:
- How Does That Make You Feel (November 1968) In How Does That Make You Feel?, Michael Crichton writes (as Jeffrey Hudson) about the misuse of psychological therapy techniques by a therapist who tries to get away from being shot by the angry husband whose wife he is seeing and who has abused his position as therapist to start the affair in the first place. The final twist shows that he was actually being played by his patient, but this does not take away the idea that this misuse and abuse of a science-based practice is a danger Michael Crichton is pointing out to the readers.
- The Most Powerful Taylor In The World (September 1971)
The second Playboy story, The Most Powerful Taylor in the World, tells the story of the initial inability of the White House science adviser to reach a simple solution to a problem, because his focus on its scientific aspects simply distracted him from the more mundane and simple facts. Again, I do not think it is a stretch to interpret this story as a warning from the dangers of excessive reliance on science & technology, in this case in the context of political decision-making.