RE: Modern Technology: Out of Control?

James Rogers (
Mon, 19 Jan 1998 22:49:42 -0800

At 04:29 PM 1/20/98 +1100, Brad Weslake wrote:
>So you propose that the control is not in the hands of the technologists
>themselves - this leaves any control primarily in the hands of those who
>would regulate the technology being developed. At the current time, this
>is the government. If the technologists themselves are not in control of
>the implications of technological developments what hope do governments
>have of responsibly creating policies?

The government has little hope of effectively controlling technology.
Advances in technology don't happen in the name of progress, but rather in
the name of economics. This alone nearly guarantees that technological
progress will proceed, government willing or not. Any progress that
results tends to be a by-product of the economics of technology.

Moving beyond this though, I have little faith that governments will create
useful policy no matter how "responsible" it appears to the Joe Average.
The problem is that politicians are generally as technologically inept as
the populace, and tend to fall prey to the same ridiculous memes. While
technologists may not be able to fully control the technology and
implications that they create, they are much better equipped to understand
the ramifications and potential than the government.

>Alternatively the question becomes: "Is the guiding force of the
>government sufficient to responsibly ensure human survival in the face
>of rapidly advancing technology? If not, what is the solution?"

You are assuming things that are clearly questionable in my mind. First,
government is simply not adaptive enough to qualify as a guiding force in a
technology driven environment. Government policy changes *much* slower
than technology does. Second, many humans *will* survive the onslaught of
rapidly advancing technology. I will grant that as the pace increases
fewer people are able to make the grade as it were, but this is evolution
in action. Much of the population, while potentially capable, has not
maintained their ability to adapt to these new technologies.

The solution? Prepare yourself the best you can and HANG ON! Most
importantly, people have to accept that change is a natural state of
affairs. The ability to control technological change is beyond the
capability of individuals and governments. However, it is through the
actions of millions of free individuals that technology is guided.
Therefore, the best and only way to "guide" technology is through the
proper education of the populace. Do this, and technology will take care
of itself.

-James Rogers