Writings on the interface between technology and humanity by Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Nobel Laureate James D. Watson, James Fallows, and others.
Get Smarter (July/August 2009)
By Jamais Cascio
We no longer need to rely on evolution to sharpen our survival skills and make us smarter; we can harness technology and pharmacology to boost our intelligence.
Is Google Making Us Stupid? (July/August 2008)
By Nicholas Carr
What the Internet is doing to our brains.
Sex, Lies, and Videogames (November 2006)
By Jonathan Rauch
A new generation of human-like, emotionally complex video games is revolutionizing interactive entertainment and changing the very meaning of "play."
The Case Against Perfection (April 2004)
By Michael Sandel
Sandel, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard, took up the question, What's wrong with designer children, bionic athletes, and genetic engineering? "One of the blessings of seeing ourselves as creatures of nature, God, or fortune is that we are not wholly responsible for the way we are..."
Living With a Computer (July 1982)
By James Fallows
Fallows was one of the first writers to incorporate a personal computer into his life. In 1982, he briefed readers on the experience: "The process works this way. When I sit down to write a letter or start the first draft of an article, I simply type on the keyboard and the words appear on the screen..."
The Obsolescent Mother (May 1971)
By Edward Grossman
As scientists made great strides in cloning and embryology, the author argued that babies would soon be able to gestate in artificial wombs, making pregnancy outdated.
Moving Toward the Clonal Man (May 1971)
By James D. Watson
The DNA-discoverer and Nobel laureate considered the troubling implications of genetic research.
As We May Think (July 1945)
By Vannevar Bush
Near the close of World War II, Vannevar Bush, the former director of the wartime Office of Scientific Research and Development, urged scientists to turn their energies from war to the task of making the vast store of human knowledge accessible and useful. The "infostructure" he sketched out—including a proposal for what might be seen as a kind of precursor to hypertext—was destined to be realized in what we now know as the Internet.
Life As We Know It (July 1924)
By Arthur D. Little
MIT-educated chemical engineer Arthur D. Little, the founder in 1886 of the world's first consulting company, discussed the ways that new technologies—from the vacuum cleaner to powdered coal—were transforming everyday American life.
The New Talking Machines (February 1889)
By Philip G. Hubert Jr.
Hubert, a noted architect and writer, waxed enthusiastic about the newly invented record player: "Imagine what the phonograph will do for the man on the borders of civilization! It will supply him with books in a far more welcome shape than print, for they will read themselves ... It is even possible to imagine that many books and stories may not see the light of print at all; they will go into the hands of their readers, or hearers rather, as phonograms."
A Telephonic Conversation (June 1880)
By Mark Twain
"I touched the bell and this talk ensued..." An early adopter of Alexander Graham Bell's invention, Twain wrote an amusing description of hearing his wife engaged in one-sided conversation.
The Stereoscope and the Stethoscope (June 1859)
By Oliver Wendell Holmes
In the mid-nineteenth century, Oliver Wendell Holmes impressed upon readers the revolutionary implications of photography, which was then in its infancy: "Form is henceforth divorced from matter... Give us a few negatives of a thing worth seeing, taken from different points of view, and that is all we want of it."
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