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  •                                 NETFUTURE
    
                       Technology and Human Responsibility
    
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    Issue #64       Copyright 1998 Bridge Communications      January 20, 1998
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                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
    
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    
    
    CONTENTS:
    *** Editor's Note
    
    *** Quotes and Provocations
          Chains of Logic
          Is Technology Good for Society? (Your Answer, Please)
          Consulting as a Respectable Business
          Technology and Chaos
    
    *** How Technology Co-opted the Good (Part 1) (Stephen L. Talbott)
          Albert Borgmann on the technological paradigm
    
    *** About this newsletter
    

    *** Editor's Note

    The review in this issue of Albert Borgmann's book, Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life, may be the most important thing I have ever passed along in NETFUTURE. While recognized by philosophers of technology as perhaps the preeminent American treatise on the technological society, Borgmann's book has nevertheless been -- within my own woefully restricted horizons -- the best-kept secret of the past fourteen years. It not only carries out, in the most thorough-going way, a razor-sharp critique of the "device paradigm" currently ruling our society, but it also strengthens one's hope for the future. My two-part review of the book will be concluded in the next issue.

    SLT

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    *** Quotes and Provocations

    Chains of Logic

    By most estimates, the Year 2000 problem will have consumed hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide when all is said and done. What has slowly been coming clear, however, is that this particular "glitch" in our society's digitalization does not stand alone; it represents an emerging class of problems. Two other members of the class are now in the news:

    The issue in all three cases is the adaptability of huge, complex software systems in the face of change. We've gotten used to thinking that manipulating bits, as opposed to atoms, is a clean, light, and fleet-of-foot business -- as effortless and compelling as thought-zephyrs breezing through a sleek, logical landscape. We now need to recognize that bits, once cobbled togethe