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Autonomous technology: technics-out-of-control as a theme in by Langdon Winner

By Langdon Winner

The reality of the problem is that our deficiency doesn't lie within the wish of well-verified "facts." What we lack is our bearings. The modern event of items technological has many times confounded our imaginative and prescient, our expectancies, and our skill to make clever judgments. different types, arguments, conclusions, and offerings that may were totally seen in past occasions are noticeable no longer. styles of perceptive pondering that have been completely trustworthy some time past now lead us systematically off beam. lots of our typical conceptions of expertise demonstrate a disorientation that borders on dissociation from fact. And so long as we lack the power to make our state of affairs intelligible, the entire "data" on the planet will make no distinction. ;From the advent

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Autonomous technology: technics-out-of-control as a theme in political thought

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Extra info for Autonomous technology: technics-out-of-control as a theme in political thought

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It is, instead, that there is evidently an element of virtual necessity or inevitability at work here. " One might suppose that at the level of invention or discovery the choice is always open to suppress the de­ velopment. But as Carl Friedrich correctly points out, this is not the scientist's job. "Our task is . . " And there is, indeed, little evidence in the history of science and tech­ nology of anyone suppressing his work because he believed it might have adverse consequences for humanity.

The historians, economists, and political scientists who tell us of such things are merely reporting an objective state of affairs that we can verify for ourselves. At the same time there is, as Henry Adams would have expected, a tendency to adopt a worshipful attitude toward the "-izations" and their juggernaut-like advance. One begins to see the process as an overwhelmingly powerful destiny with the moral obliga­ tions of service and obedience. In this light David Apter compares the modern condition to the plight of Sisyphus in Camus' fable : "Sisyphus, returning again and again to roll his rock up the hill, may appear ab­ surd.

Facing this p aradox, it does little good to argue that the "-izations" are merely conveniences of speech, shorthand ways of talk­ ing about myriads of free decisions and actions. We have already seen that writers on industrialization, modernization, and the like do wish to assert that the process itself has a true momentum or inertial beyond individual or even collective will. Thus, even a judicious spokesman on industrial development, Clark Kerr, is able to exclaim : This technique knew no geographical limits; recognized no elites or ideologies.

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