Critical Thinking About Technology

a weblog by     Archives: 2000
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Robots predicted to take over on the battlefield (Thursday, February 8, 2001)
ROBOTIC power on the battlefield could replace manpower by the year 2030, according to the new [UK] Ministry of Defence report. “Unmanned systems might be used for operations deemed too risky for humans,” it said.

Computers cause Mountains of Waste (Wednesday, February 7, 2001)
"Every year an electronic trash heap nearly as tall as Mount Everest is tossed into garbage cans, stashed in garages or forgotten in closets. Some 500 million PCs will be rendered obsolete by 2007 in the U.S. alone--abandoned by users who have upgraded to faster and sexier machines--according to a report by the National Safety Council. Computers are ranked as the nation's fastest-growing category of solid waste by the Environmental Protection Agency."

Computers cause Memory-Loss? (Monday, February 5, 2001)
Growing numbers of people in their twenties and thirties are suffering from severe memory loss because of increasing reliance on computer technology, according to new research...

The Ecology of Ecommerce (Sunday, February 4, 2001) 7 Dec 2000... If there is one single message for environmentally conscious online shoppers, it's this: Don't wait until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping -- if not just to save your sanity, then to help save the energy sure to be consumed in all those "next day" FedEx and UPS orgies.

Edge Cities (Sunday, February 4, 2001)
How housing and transportation subsidies in the US strongly favored suburbs over cities...

The Debriefing: John Seely Brown (Sunday, February 4, 2001)
Wired, Aug 2000. Personally I think we have to stop pushing technology for technology's sake and start asking serious questions about the social consequences. Technology is moving ahead faster and faster. How do we guarantee a broad enough bandwidth of communication between society and technology so this coevolutionary system stays in balance? One way is to educate the public much more. We may need to invent fundamentally new kinds of institutional regimes that help mediate this chasm. Such as? The ACLU a long long long time ago. We forget that at the turn of the century when the industrial revolution was taking off, all kinds of new institutions came into being to help bridge the gap between the power class and the working class, if you wish. Now we're going to see the same thing happen. Having played with the Open Source Foundation, I also have things like IETF and ICANN in mind; but you see the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, Larry Lessig's going to create something out here at Stanford - these institutions will help foster public understanding and public debate.

Is eCommerce Worth Dying For? (Sunday, February 4, 2001)
Business 2.0, 6 Feb 2001 In ancient times, the philosopher, the priest, or the soldier found a sense of transcendent purpose in what they did. I can imagine the Spartan soldier bleeding to death on the battlefield and feelin, "My life is not a waste. I'm dying for something bigger than myself." I mentioned this a tech conference not long ago, and a guy said, "That's the way I want to feel about ecommerce solutions." But the reality of it is, you can't feel the same way about ecommerce solutions.

Why Don't We Build More Beacon Hills? (Sunday, February 4, 2001)
"People come from all over the world just to walk around here," our friend says. "So why don't we build more neighborhoods like it?" "That's a nice simple question without a simple answer."

Imagining the Digital Divide (Sunday, February 4, 2001)
April 24, 2000, The Industry Standard Is not having a computer with Web access the real problem – or is it really about education?

Cloned human planned 'by 2003' (Wednesday, January 31, 2001)
Ick. (BBC News, SCI/TECH)

PHONE ALERT (Saturday, January 13, 2001)
The UK government advises against children using mobile phones but admits the risk is uncertain. (EH: I bet it's pretty certain)

Aussie scientists stumble across the Doomsday Bug (Saturday, January 13, 2001)
Australian gene engineers accidentally created a mouse virus that kills every one of its victims by wrecking their immune system, a discovery with the potential for making the ultimate terrorist weapon, New Scientist reports.

Firsts: Cloned Ox, Genetically Modified Monkey (Saturday, January 13, 2001)
DES MOINES, Iowa –– A rare ox called an Asian gaur, cloned and gestated in the womb of a cow in a scientific first, was born this week but died two days later of an ordinary disease, scientists announced Friday. ... Some scientists warn that biotechnology is advancing at a pace so fast that society does not have time to ponder its meaning. ... Just Thursday, scientists in Oregon announced they had created the world's first genetically modified primate – a baby rhesus monkey born last fall with some jellyfish DNA in its genetic makeup.


Columns / Newletters / Institutes
- NetFuture, Steve Talbott,
- Digital Nation, Gary Chapman, LA Times
- Tech Knowledge Revue, Langdon Winner
- The Loka Institute, Amherst, MA, USA

Books / Articles
- In the Absence of the Sacred, Jerry Mander, 1992
- Why the Future Doesn't Need Us, Bill Joy, Wired, 2000
- The Computer Delusion, Todd Oppenheimer, The Atlantic Monthly, July 1997
- More articles and books

- Slow Down!

Centers for Internet and Society at...
- Harvard Law (Berkman)
- Stanford Law (Lessig)
- Southern CT State

Science, Technology and Human Values
- Program in.... (Duke University)
- Journal of...
- Journal of Science and Public Policy