How is the world changing?
The space age
as a prediction of the future
become smarter than human beings--is such a dramatic
change coming up?
- computers already win not only at chess but also at
the less predictable game
- communication--we will be more instantly interlinked
with other people
- different technologies--telephone, television,
computer, ... are blending together
Miscellaneous--the nature of information
handling has changed
- search has replaced logical organizing of
- knowledge is less organizing into disciplines and
more widely available
- an example of technology changing the way we think
about the world around us
- medical breakthroughs--being able to replace systems
that don't work
- space program
- why were people so enthusiastic in the 1960s?
- space race with the Russians--cold war
- powerful symbolic dream-visiting the
moon--technology gives us the power to conquer
everything we can see
- after the landing on the moon the American public
lost interest in the space program
- we had met the goal
- what difference will it make on earth? yes
there are benefits, but they haven't changed our lives
Will we use new technology to keep the old social
- enthusiasts had a vision of space station, space
shuttle, send people to Mars
was cut because of lack of public support
- NASA saw the next step as making access to space
needs to be cheaper and more routine
- didn't work--budget cuts, space is a difficult
environment, astronauts and cargo in the same vehicle
may have been the wrong choice
- so will outer space be a part of our future?
- will we go to Mars?--if space colonization is the
goal, Mars is the best hope
- will the space program become only scientific
research conducted by robots?
- will private companies take the lead instead of
hotels in orbit
- use space to solve problems on earth--collect
solar power and beam it down to earth
What can we learn from the past that will help us think
about the future?
- that isn't what has happened so far--we choose how we
use new technologies, but eventually they tend to fit into
- what is the relationship between technological change
and social change?
- in some cases social change creates a demand for
- does technological change cause social change?
- Nye: technology does not determine society
- new technology gives us new choices
- it is harder to predict how social patterns will
change, but we might predict:
- more diversity in the life choices of men and women
confined to stereotyped roles)
- more individualism encouraged in children (parents
- more people give the answer "no religion" (discussion)
Changes in population will affect social change
- society struggling to adapt to economic and
- changes in how people see their economic
opportunities have a big impact on how technological
- attitudes towards change can change over time and
make a difference
- we use technology in accordance with our values
- ask good questions about technology
- more diverse population
- more people living longer
Can technology fix education?
- the cost of higher education needs to stop rising so
- is online education a solution?
What kind of world do we want to live in?
- individualism vs. community
- having things vs. enjoying nature