With our zeitgeist of presentism—the judging of the past through the lens of current standards—it’s refreshing if not essential to know the past was not entirely without figures who not only exceeded the standards of their time but even those of today. At a time when women’s suffrage was in its nascency, Catherine “Kate” Anselm Gleason (1865–1933) helped stage what would become the Gleason Corporation in the global cutting tools industry as a sales engineer for her family’s gear-cutting machinery business.
The mere mention of artificial intelligence (AI) often conjures one dystopian vision or another—perhaps the prime example of all is the HAL 9000 going spectacularly awry in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The prospect of the widespread adoption of AI is understandably alarming to people in a host of ways, but be that as it may, various forms of it are already a central part of how things are done—from finance to health care, from heavy machinery to retail—and the reason for this is simple: AI allows computers to do things people can’t unassisted, and by pairing algorithmic accuracy with automation, this helps save valuable time and resources. However, as AI and other control mechanisms affecting systems grow increasingly sophisticated, the human link to these processes becomes critical.