Are We Still Open to the Unexpected

Consider that pulsars and their near twins millisecond pulsars would not have been discovered serendipitously if human intuition and persistence had not been directly involved in the process. As radio astronomy matures, the increased use of supersophisticated computer technology in making observations often removes the human factor to the point where serendipitous discovery becomes weli-nigh impossible. A computer can only do precisely what we want it to do, which means that we have to know what we are looking for before we search! Then the computer either finds what we want to find or does not. This implies that important discoveries such as Jocelyn Bell's discovery of "little bits of scruff" on paper chart recordings unsullied by computers might become ever more rare. It is possible that our technological sophistication has evolved to the point where we may no longer be able to see the unexpected.

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