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Who’s Afraid of Techno Change?

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While many people celebrate technological change, others don’t. Some criticism of change comes from the left (genetically modified foods) and some comes from the right (stem cell research). So our typical left/right labeling system doesn’t work very well.

Eugene Miller, a Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia, lays out another way to categorize the arguments over technology over at Tech Central Station.

His is a two dimension system. One dimension maps out someone’s view on whether technology (at the extremes) only benefits us, or whether it harms us. Along the other dimension, he measures whether there should be tight controls or no controls over technology.

This leaves us with four major positions : Those who emphasize benefits and advocate controls; those who emphasize harms and advocate controls; those who emphasize the benefits and think controls are bad; and those who emphasize the harms but feel controls don’t work. He then gives examples of thinkers who fall into each camp, some of whose books are below.

The article isn’t that long — read the whole thing and figure out which category you are in.

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About Bruce Kratofil

  • On this at least, it appears that I fall in the lower-left quadrant, with “Views that Emphasize Benefits but Oppose Controls.”

    Of course, there must be some variation within that. I advocate limited controls on behavior that may or may not involve the use of technology. However, I advocate few or no controls on technologies themselves, or their development.

    As with all things, I’m sure that there are exceptions.