Technology and Society: The Influence of Machines in the United States

By S. Mckee Rosen ; Laura Rosen | Go to book overview

EDITOR'S FOREWORD

When Aristotle, perhaps while in an ironic mood, speculated about the future destiny of mankind, he prophesied that men would be slaves of the necessary evil of work until the day when the shuttles would fly back and forth of themselves and the plectrum, untouched by human hands, would make the strings of the lyre resound. That day seems to be virtually at hand. It is the change the new technology has wrought in men's ways of life, which the ancients would have considered miraculous, that constitutes the theme of this book. The authors' analyses, together with the farseeing introduction by Professor Ogburn, should prove of interest to the general reader in finding his way about the bewildering world of men and machines. It should help him also to obtain a glimpse of what lies ahead, both in the way of potentialities and of problems.

While this volume should serve as a guide to the intelligent layman, it has a special function for the student. It not only brings together the relevant facts from the world of science and technology, but relates these to the facts of human living. Indeed, this volume suggests itself as a suitable introduction to the problems ordinarily studied by the social sciences, if it is recognized that technology offers one of the most revealing perspectives for viewing the social scene.

In recent years general introductory courses in the social sciences, sometimes known as "survey" courses or "orientation" courses, have multiplied. Some of these courses have taken as their central integrating theme the transition from a pre-industrial folk society to an advanced technological urban civilization. Wherever this is the case, the present volume should prove itself indispensable.

This volume is of particular interest, however, to another group of students whose need for general instruction in the

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