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Ever accelerating hype

Techno-hype, the idea that we are living in an age of ever accelerating change, has become part of our mental furniture. David Edgerton says there is surprisingly little evidence for it

By David Edgerton   April 1997

We have a problem in thinking about technology and change: we do not think about it realistically, we do not draw on experience. We think in clich?s: technology will enslave us; it will liberate us; it will turn children into anti-social weirdos. It will create a perpetual peace; it will lead to hideous wars.

One clich? is particularly resistant to analysis-that technology is subject to “ever accelerating change” and that, consequently, society and the economy are changing faster than ever. Unprecedented challenges thus face us.

The “ever accelerating change” clich? is so easily inserted in a political programme or a…

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