Why things bite back: technology and the revenge of unintended consequences

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Vintage Books, Sep 2, 1997 - Fiction - 448 pages
19 Reviews
In this perceptive and provocative look at everything from computer software that requires faster processors and more support staff to antibiotics that breed resistant strains of bacteria, Edward Tenner offers a virtual encyclopedia of what he calls "revenge effects"--the unintended consequences of the mechanical, chemical, biological, and medical forms of ingenuity that have been hallmarks of the progressive, improvement-obsessed modern age. Tenner shows why our confidence in technological solutions may be misplaced, and explores ways in which we can better survive in a world where despite technology's advances--and often because of them--"reality is always gaining on us." For anyone hoping to understand the ways in which society and technology interact,Why Things Bite Backis indispensable reading. "A bracing critique of technological determinism in both its utopian and dystopian forms...No one who wants to think clearly about our high-tech future can afford to ignore this book."--Jackson Lears,Wilson Quarterly

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Review: Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences

User Review  - Mysteryfan - Goodreads

While the book is a little dated, its basic premise is still valid. Technology tends to replace acute life-threatening problems with slower-acting and more persistent problems. He used examples from ... Read full review

Review: Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences

User Review  - Brian - Goodreads

Interesting look at the unanticipated consequences of dramatic change over time. A little slow at the beginning, but it gains momentum. More back injuries after the elimination of much back-breaking work. Read full review


Ever Since Frankenstein
Conquest of
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About the author (1997)

Edward Tenner, former executive editor for physical science and history at Princeton University Press, holds a visiting research appointment in the Department of Geological and Geophysical Sciences at Princeton University. He received the A.B. from Princeton and the Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago and has held visiting research positions at Rutgers University and the Institute for Advanced Study. In 1991-92 he was a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow and in 1995-96 is a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

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