By Langdon Winner

ISBN-10: 0262730499

ISBN-13: 9780262730495

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 adventure of items technological has time and again confounded our imaginative and prescient, our expectancies, and our ability to make clever judgments. different types, arguments, conclusions, and offerings that might were solely noticeable in past instances are visible no longer. styles of perceptive pondering that have been completely trustworthy some time past now lead us systematically off course. lots of our average conceptions of know-how display a disorientation that borders on dissociation from truth. And so long as we lack the facility to make our scenario intelligible, all the "data" on the planet will make no distinction. ;From the creation

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7 2 There are times when a choice cannot be made and when the drift of events cannot be halted. This is the irony that Ellul describes: Men are free in one respect but totally boxed in in another. At the points of origin, technology moves steadily onward as if by cause and effect. This does not deny human creativity, intelligence, idiosyncracy, chance, or the willful desire to head in one direction rather than another. All of these are absorbed into the process and become moments in the progression.

64 In the passage that follows, Heisenberg reconstructs from memory the conver­ sations he had with the other scientists held prisoner-Otto Hahn, Max von Laue , Walther Gerlach, Carl Friedrich von Weizsacker, and Karl Wirtz. "Worst of all ," Heisenberg remembers, "was Otto Hahn. " Hahn immediately retreated Engines of Change 69 to his quarters, "visibly shaken and deeply disturbed, and all of us were afraid that he might do himself some injury. " 65 In Hahn's absence, Carl Friedrich von Weizsacker spoke of the quandary in which the scientists found themselves.

Of course, he had no influence on developments in America. " 71 Heisenberg's thinking here is neither unique nor an aberration. We can find similar sentiments in much of the contemporary literature on the social responsibility of the scientist. In Norbert Wiener's Cyb er­ netics, the author ponders the implications of his work in communi­ cations theory and sinks into a melancholy mood. Those of us who have contributed to the new science of cybernetics thus stand in a moral position which is, to say the least, not very com- Engines of Change 71 fortable.

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


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