International Dynamics of Technology

International Dynamics of Technology

International Dynamics of Technology

International Dynamics of Technology

Synopsis

"This book examines the interaction between technology and international relations.... Sanders concludes that managing technology to gain maximum social benefit is an integral part of political wisdom; technology should influence statesmen concerned with world politics just as world politics affect the direciton of technology.... This volume is an outstanding contribution to a field little understood and even less written about than one might imagine."- The Friday Review of Defense Literature

Excerpt

Should historians of the twenty-fifth century try to select a couple of events of great moment in the twentieth century, they would probably narrow the choice to include the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and man's landing on the moon. Should chroniclers want to determine which of the two events was more important, they would have to take into account the happenings of the intervening centuries. Had there been a nuclear war? Had humankind solved its energy problems? Was man using celestial space? In either case, the historian would pick between two events made possible largely by a major technological enterprise.

We could expand enormously the list of technologies that have significantly influenced the environment in which international relations take place as well as the very conduct of foreign affairs. Medical science has wiped out smallpox worldwide and reduced infant mortality with important consequences for the earth's population--increasing pressure on resources and living conditions. The jet airplane, communications satellites, and telephone systems have created an intimate world in which action and reaction can occur with astonishing speed, compared with the past. Computers, automation, and data processing have changed the very character of our manufacturing and white-collar service industries. Mass production and economies of scale now condition much of the developed world's economic life. With computer assistance, we can now make airline reservations instantaneously to and from anywhere on earth. Synthetic fibers have altered the nature of international trade in textiles. Certainly nuclear, electronics, and aerospace technologies in large measure now determine questions of peace and war.

Technological advances could change international relations in important ways. For example, we are probably standing in the vestibule of the miniaturization revolution. Small integrated circuits already have profoundly affected devices like calculators, computers, machine tools, and communications equipment. With very high speed integrated circuits currently under development, even smaller, lighter, less energy consuming, and more reliable technologies have become possible. In the next twenty years, research into ultrasmall electronics could lead to integrated circuits in . . .

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