Technology and the Future

Technology and the Future, 6th ed.
by Teich, Albert H. (Ed.)

St. Martin's Press
C, T, GA **


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This sixth edition of an anthology dealing with issues relating to science, technology, and society indicates how much has been learned about the technology-society interface since the first edition of the book, released some two decades ago, when the "counterculture" was at its height (or nadir?) in denigrating technology's impact upon society and the environment. At the time, the debate centered upon simplistic issues, such as whether technology was autonomous or whether it was a neutral tool that, depending upon its application, could be good or bad. In the intervening years, new issues were raised, such as reshaping the environmental impact of technology by applying "alternative" or "appropriate" technology and, most recently, ethical and moral dilemmas arising from the ability to manipulate genes and other basic factors affecting humans and ecology. The result has been increasing concern about technology's impact upon the environment and the future of humankind. By showing how technology interacts with socio-politico-economic circumstances in different ways, the book stimulates thought about the pluses and minuses of technological development. But the volume is more than a debate between opposing views, for its editor, Albert H. Teich, director of science and technology programs at the AAAS, is fully cognizant of the many factors involved in decisions, both private and governmental, regarding the direction of scientific and technological research and applications. So he makes certain that the selections provide a foundation on which the authors base their thoughts. Furthermore, the book recognizes the increasingly important role of black Americans and women in technology. By giving a clear picture of the risks and uncertainties involved in technological choices, it acquaints readers with the many issues--political, social, economic, moral, and ethical--involved in technological decisions. In brief, this book "asks the right questions" and informs its readers of the many problems and uncertainties that are involved in arriving at answers. That makes students think--and the book provides them with data and arguments that will help make their thoughts meaningful.

--Reviewed by Melvin Kranzberg in Science Books and Films, 30/1 (January/February 1994), p. 10.