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  1.    #1  
    "Arnold Pacey suggests that the technological imperative is commonly taken to be 'the lure of always pushing toward the greatest feat of technical performance or complexity which is currently available' (Pacey 1983, p. 79). The mathematician John von Neumann wrote with some alarm that 'technological possibilities are irresistible to man.' (in Mumford 1971, p. 186). Jacques Soustelle declared of the atomic bomb that 'Since it was possible, it was necessary' (in Ellul 1964, p. 99). And fatalists might add that since we can now destroy the planet, in time we will. The technological imperative is a common assumption amongst commentators on 'new technologies'. They tell us, for instance, that the 'information technology revolution' is inevitably on its way and our task as users is to learn to cope with it."

    I came across this quote while following a link on why hackers would want to skin the already perfect iPhone. In summary, it basically claims that every possible technology will eventually be taken to its ultimate extreme by some-one. I have come across the weaker form of this claim before - Technological Determinism, which states that the technology available to society determines its development path, but the Technological Imperative is separate from society, relying on misfits to take things to the ultimate unthinkable extreme.

    As in the quote above, this extreme could often lead to ultimate destruction. Dangerous examples that could one day soon easily be performed by a small group of people would be to reconstruct the smallpox or influenza virus.

    Do people feel this force is real, and has been active in society? Do we need a "thought police" to protect is from loose cannon geeks? What do you think?

  2. #2  
    I find that mankind faces only 4 boundaries: its collective imagination; its composite ethic; external intervention; and time.

    1. Collective Imagination - if it can be imagined, given enough time, it can be brought to fruition.

    2. Composite Ethic - whether or not it is attempted is a function of identifying one or more willing participants. I think there will always be someone willing.

    3. External Intervention - whether or not it comes to fruition depends on the extent to which outside forces (meteors, aliens, artificial intellects, other species...) effect us.

    4. Time - Apart from a fixed expiration date, time only limits the accomplishment of a single willing participant. Through successive willing participants, time is not a limiting factor to accomplishment.

    While, I recognize the composite sense of ethic as the only limiting factor at our disposal. To that end, I find that we need to teach/learn to truly value others' existence. When I do, I will not act, knowlingly, in a harming way, but will seek to preserve. To that end, I likewise will be reluctant to act on matters for which the consequence is unknown, lest I unknowingly cause harm.

    [I have to admit that in attempting to respond, I have been confronted with several of my personal practices that violate this principle, and am challenged to take corrective steps. (thanx, Surur)]
  3.    #3  
    I find the whole thing quite scary. No matter how much education we do, its a certainty eventually some-one will try and do what they are not supposed to. Its like the fruit of knowledge from the garden of Eden - eventually some-one will take a bite. With the power wielded by each individual person growing each year it seems it would only take one determined person to do real damage to our world.

    Even worse are the people who are willing to take calculated risks with all our lives e.g. the story of the first Atom bomb setting the atmosphere on fire.

  4. ktm97's Avatar
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    I think that all of this knowledge/tecnology is pushing way faster today, because of the access to the internet what you can look up & learn in 15 minutes only a few years ago would take forever and a trip to the library or some underground group.

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