Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Technology and History

Another interesting book on the role of technology in society is David Edgerton's The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900(New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). Edgerton, among other things, argues that the notion of a "futurology of the past" affects how we view history and the present. We focus on "invention and innovation" and lose sight of how older technologies persist, take on new roles, and continue to be important in our society. We confuse descriptions of technology, usually written a philosophical or conceptual perspective with an eye on what's ahead, with the realities of the impact, past and continuing, of the technologies themselves.

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