Ten recommended attitudes about technology
- Since most of what we are told about a new technology comes from
its proponents, be deeply skeptical of all claims.
- Assume all technology "guilty until proven innocent."
- Eschew the idea that technology is neutral or "value free." Every
technology has inherent and identifiable social, political
and environmental consequences.
- The fact that technology has a natural flash and appeal is
meaningless. Negative attributes are slow to emerge.
- Never judge a technology by the way it benefits you personally.
Seek a holistic view of its impacts. The operative question is not
whether it benefits you, but who benefits most? And to what end?
- Keep in mind that an individual technology is only one piece of a
larger web of technologies, "megatechnology." The operative question
here is how the individual technology fits the larger one.
- Make distinctions between technologies that primarily serve the
individual or the small community (e.g. solar energy) and those that
operate on a scale outside of community control (e.g. nuclear energy).
The latter kind is the major problem of the day.
- When it is argued that the benefits of the technological lifeway
are worthwhile despite harmful outcomes, recall that Lewis Mumford
referred to these alleged benefits as "bribery." Cite the figures about
crime, suicide, alienation and drug abuse, as well as environmental and
- Do not accept the homily that "once the genie is out of the bottle
you cannot put it back," or that rejecting technology is impossible.
Such attitudes induce passivity and confirm victimization.
- In thinking about technology within the present climate of
technological worship, emphasize the negative. This brings balance.
Negativity is positive.
-- Jerry Mander
In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and
Survival of the Indian Nations