chapter  1
10 Pages

Introduction

New technologies have long been a contentious issue. From the 18th century riots precipitated by the introduction of machinery into the textile industry to the mass demonstrations against nuclear power in the 1970s and the destruction of genetically modified crops in the 1990s, people have protested against certain technological developments. What is new is that, with the rejection of genetically modified food by the European public, for the first time the protesters may have won a significant, if local, victory, resulting in severe restrictions being put on a technology that had the backing and support of governments and major companies. This has perhaps created a space in which it may be possible to change the forces controlling the development of new technology; to think differently about technology, its significance and meaning, and how we should assess it and make decisions about it.