The Roots of Progress

A dialogue with Dr. John K. Davis: is technology making things better?

I was invited by Pairagraph to discuss “Is Technology Actually Making Things Better?” with Dr. John K. Davis. My opening:

Dr. Davis lists some real and important technological risks. However, to answer the question, “is technology making things better?” we need to assess the benefits of technology as well—including the risks that technology has reduced.

I concluded:

On balance, technology has clearly made us better off. The medieval peasant, burning the last of his coal to keep from freezing, who has just lost his crops to blight, whose home has been ravaged by war, and whose infant has died of cholera, would laugh at modern concerns and would gladly change places with any of us.

I did appreciate and agree with a key point of Dr. Davis’s, which is that “we’re becoming more powerful but not more wise”. As a philosopher, I hope he’ll have some thoughts in his response on how we can get wiser, faster!

Read the full entry on Pairagraph.

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