Visions Of Technology: A Century Of Vital Debate About Machines Systems And The Human World

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Richard Rhodes
Simon and Schuster, Dec 7, 2000 - Science - 400 pages
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Technology was the blessing and the bane of the twentieth century. Human life span nearly doubled in the West, but in no century were more human beings killed by new technologies of war. Improvements in agriculture now feed increasing billions, but pesticides and chemicals threaten to poison the earth. Does technology improve us or diminish us? Enslave us or make us free? With this first-ever collection of the essential twentieth-century writings on technology, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Richard Rhodes explores the optimism, ambivalence, and wrongheaded judgments with which Americans have faced an ever-shifting world.

Visions of Technology collects writings on events from the Great Exposition of 1900 and the invention of the telegraph to the advent of genetic counseling and the defeat of Garry Kasparov by IBM's chess-playing computer, Deep Blue. Its gems of opinion and history include Henry Ford on the horseless carriage, Robert Caro on the transformation of New York City, J. Robert Oppenheimer on science and war, Loretta Lynn on the Pill and much more. Together, they chronicle an unprecedented century of change.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An anthology of short takes on the century's progress in invention/technology, selected and presented chronologically by a prize-winning writer who himself has contributed to the history of technology ... Read full review


Preface to the Sloan Technology Series 19
Wilbur Wrights Affliction Wilbur Wright 3 3
The Profession of Engineering Herbert Hoover 3 9
The Burning of the Hindenburg I Herb Morrison 127
The World of Tomorrow E B White 135
A Radioactive Superbomb Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls 141
A Vision of Hypertext Vannevar Bush 171
The Technological Imperative Lewis Mumford 294
Following Orders Daniel C Drucker 301
SuperSuper SSTs Spiro Agnew 307
II Gerard Piel 310
FiveDimensional Technology Daniel Bell 316
Closing the Distance Joseph Weizenbaum 322
Sharing the Blame Harvey Brooks 328
Girls Just Want to Have Computers Nancy Kreinberg

Flying Blind George A Lundberg 176
Naming of Parts Henry Reed 184
Varieties David Riesman 192
I Bernard Asbell 198
Fellow Traveler Pravda 206
The Whole Earth John Allen 2 64
Plastics Jeffrey L Meikle 2 71
So It Goes Kurt Vonnegut Jr 278
Benefit Versus Risk Chauncey Starr 285
Chronicle of a Disaster Foretold Roger M Boisjoly 343
Facts and PlainSpeaking Samuel C Florman 350
Digging Deep David E Nye 357
Beyond Social Construction Fredrico Capasso 363
R U R Revisited Marvin Minsky 369
Surefire Predictions Julian L Simon 375
Bibliography 381
Index 389

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About the author (2000)

Richard Rhodes received the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award for The Making of the Atomic Bomb and the History of Science Society's Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize for Dark Sun. His other books include Deadly Feasts, Nuclear Renewal, Making Love, A Hole in the World, and Why They Kill. He lives in rural Connecticut.

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