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George Grant Article Review - the Computer Does Not Impose on Us the Ways It Should Be Used

Autor:   •  March 17, 2011  •  Article Review  •  1,216 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,322 Views

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George Grant starts his article ‘The Computer Does Not Impose on Us the Ways It Should Be Used' questioning what is ‘beyond' and whether a person can be beyond industrial growth, what implies that there will be time when the growth will be over. He said that in order to know what it is to be beyond something, one has first to learn what it is to live within it. He presents industrial growth as a complex of problems people concerning population, resources and pollution, and acknowledges the need of vast knowledge to be able to deal with those issues. Further, he tries to describe the future of humanity as the world of cybernetics and North America's use of medicine as a social control tool, but states that the main emphasis is to be put on ‘values' and ‘ideals'.

Grant claims that ‘values' are to define the way of history. By pursuing the ‘values', we are guided by certain ‘ideals' to aim at, such as extended quality of life, though they require careful terminology in order not to, for instance, extend free government into tyranny. Further, according to Grant industrial growth as inevitable must be manipulated in a way that will still preserve and extend human values.

The notion of ‘beyond' must be explored through the negative of it and that is ‘within'. The example is given by a negative statement ‘the computer does not impose on us the ways it should be used' which by the author's opinion implies that there must be another argument that says that computers can be used for disapproved purposes. This in its turn means that computers are more than machines, and their capacities are beyond technical description. With further explanation that computers are instruments and are completely invented and controlled by men, Grant concludes that the historical existence of technologies are definitely determined by ‘values' and ‘ideas' mentioned above. It was a historical necessity for men to create computers to be able to achieve something unachievable without them.

However, perception of computers as being more than a men-used instrument which goes beyond its capacities make the computers morally neutral and separate from human society. However, as Grant mentioned, we should consider this model only if we are concerned with the question of being "beyond industrial growth".

Further, the author talks about how computers as classification machines could turn our society into homogeneous, which would be a result of using technologies in seeking for convenience but not in pursuit of knowledge. And as the computers can be only used in homogenizing way, they become not neutral by definition.

The next issue discovered is whether computer knowledge is used in socialist or capitalist interests that share a common belief that the best society is the one where people are free


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