chapter  8
Political Imperatives I: Technology for Better or for Worse?
Pages 14

Politics and technology have been intimate bedfellows for quite some time. One very well-known example is the Manhattan Project, which led to the creation of the atomic bomb during World War II. The military potential of nuclear fission was first "pushed up" onto the political radar because nuclear technology seemed to answer the primary need of the Allied commanders - to bring the war to an end as quickly as possible. There was a clear affinity between the possibilities offered by the technology and the political needs of the day. I will refer to such cases as illustrating a "bottom-up" approach, because pre-existing technology is appropriated to serve a political end that it wasn't

intended for, a purpose that was likely not even anticipated at the time the technology was first designed. In the next chapter, I'll describe the more rational "top-down" path - situations where technological systems are deliberately designed to serve a particular pre-defined political purpose.