Modern Technology and Civilization: An Introduction to Human Problems in the Machine Age

Modern Technology and Civilization: An Introduction to Human Problems in the Machine Age

Modern Technology and Civilization: An Introduction to Human Problems in the Machine Age

Modern Technology and Civilization: An Introduction to Human Problems in the Machine Age

Excerpt

In the past two or three decades, Man has begun to focus the social sciences on the relationship between Man and his creature, the Machine. This book is concerned with that relationship.

The book is divided into four parts. The first puts technology into the perspectives of time, space, and history. The second looks at the problems and promises of technology in our own day, in the West, where industrialism and industrial civilization first originated and where, up to now, they have reached their highest development. The third part looks at technology in non-Western countries. This theme might easily absorb the whole volume, for central to the fate of civilization is the story now unfolding of the conquest by the Machine of China, India, Africa, and other parts of the non-Western world. The fourth and final part looks at the unprecedented human problems and opportunities posed by modern technology and bow to think about them. A few years ago, the author wrote:

Rapid change has now left most Americans a little breathless. So complex are effects of changing technology that they have overtaken mankind as problems rather than as opportunities. If men are to utilize technology for the good life, they will have to find a substitute for time, which in the past permitted the human organism, and the community, to adjust to the pace of history.

This book will suggest at least two substitutes for time: (1) systematic knowledge of human behavior under the impact of technological change and (2) an assumption of responsibility by all parties at interest for the problems as well as the benefits of industrial progress.

Modern technology and civilization are obviously a subject of tremendous scope and one which might be treated in a hundred ways. It is important, therefore, at the beginning to define the limitations of this book and the author's criteria for including themes and material. First, the book is limited to modern technology, not medieval, ancient, or primitive. Even when historical backgrounds are touched on, they are looked at in order to put contemporary technology into perspective, rather than for their own sake.

The second limitation is an emphasis on technology in industry--and through industry on industrial man in his new and rapidly changing civilization. Modern man is assuredly organizational man, and organizations today in a hundred ways are dependent on technology--conceived as . . .

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