Technology and the Human Experience

Larry Summers believes that technology enabled by sense has shaped history more than any other single force.
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Lawrence Summers: So it seems to me that technology that is brought by science, and the way in which that technology is organizes and applied, is the central force that drives history. And that has both a scientific and a technological dimension. And it also has the social scientific dimension; the domain of economics; the domain of politics; the domain of sociology, of how society organizes itself as all of this changes.

And I emphasize the importance of this in part not to say that human nature doesn’t in a profound way shape history; not to say that the forces of jealousy and anger and love and greed and the stuff of great tragedy aren’t central in shaping history.

But they are relatively constant, it seems to me, the range of human emotion, the response to provocation of human beings. I doubt these things are fundamentally different today than they were in the times of the classics. And yet the world is hugely different today.

 

Recorded On: June 13,  2007