OVERSKILL: Technology and the Myth of Efficiency by Eugene S. Schwartz

OVERSKILL: Technology and the Myth of Efficiency

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Technology is cold and inhuman. The computer is beginning to dominate man. ""Problems proliferate faster than solutions can be found to meet them. . . the myth of science and technology has now become dangerous and threatening. . . . The electron and the atom have become genii to reshape the earth. Time is condensed, space telescoped. The world approaches a technological unity. The Messiah is night."" This from an information science expert at the Illinois Institute of Technology, whose jeremiad might have been compelling twenty years ago but now manifests itself as a romantic reactionary cliche elaborated with nonsensical commonplaces. For instance, observe that a car is a technological innovation but traffic jams make the trip to work well over half an hour. . . and more industry creates more waste and pollution. Schwartz argues that the earth can't feed more people since ""land is not renewable,"" but he posits no technological advance, indeed argues against it. Presumably, the logic of every innovation leading to more problems than it solves is that man should devolve toward a simpler, more wholesome way of life -- say a rollback to the technology of Galileo's time, which would permit perhaps a fifth of the present population to survive. We are spared the consideration of what to do with the remainder, which of course excludes you and me and Schwartz; we are also spared consideration of scientists' role in the war machine; yet the book is dedicated to ""all the young of the earth who seek a future.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1971
Publisher: Quadrangle