Technology Matters Questions to Live With

ISBN-10: 0262640678
ISBN-13: 9780262640671
Edition: 2007
Authors: David E. Nye
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Description: Technology matters, writes David Nye, because it is inseparable from being human. We have used tools for more than 100,000 years, and their central purpose has not always been to provide necessities. People excel at using old tools to solve new  More...

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Book details

List price: $19.95
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 8/24/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 304
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.968
Language: English

Technology matters, writes David Nye, because it is inseparable from being human. We have used tools for more than 100,000 years, and their central purpose has not always been to provide necessities. People excel at using old tools to solve new problems and at inventing new tools for more elegant solutions to old tasks. Perhaps this is because we are intimate with devices and machines from an early age--as children, we play with technological toys: trucks, cars, stoves, telephones, model railroads, Playstations. Through these machines we imagine ourselves into a creative relationship with the world. As adults, we retain this technological playfulness with gadgets and appliances--Blackberries, cell phones, GPS navigation systems in our cars. We use technology to shape our world, yet we think little about the choices we are making. In Technology Matters,Nye tackles ten central questions about our relationship to technology, integrating a half-century of ideas about technology into ten cogent and concise chapters, with wide-ranging historical examples from many societies. Among them: Does technology shape us, or do we shape it? Is technology inevitable or unpredictable? Are we using modern technology to create cultural uniformity, or diversity? To create abundance, or an ecological crisis? To destroy jobs, or create new opportunities? Should "the market" choose our technologies? Does ubiquitous technology expand our mental horizons, or encapsulate us in artifice? These large questions may have no final answers yet, but we need to wrestle with them--to live them, so that we may, as Rilke puts it, "live along some distant day into the answers."

David E. Nye is Professor of American Studies at the Danish Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Southern Denmark. He is the author of Technology Matters: Questions to Live With and When the Lights Went Out: A History of Blackouts in America, both published by the MIT Press, and other books.

Preface
Acknowledgements
Can We Define "Techonology?"
DoesTechnology Control Us?
Is Technology Predictable?
How Do Historians Understand Technology?
Cultural Uniformity, or Diversity?
Sustainable Abundance, or Ecological Crisis?
Work: More, or Less? Better, or Worse?
Should "the Market" Select Technologies?
More Security, or Escalating Dangers?
Expanding Consciousness, or Encapsulation?
Not Just One Future
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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