Our Technology Changes Us


My current editorial in Environment and Planning B deals with the impact that the technologies we invent have on the very object that we are studying with the same technologies: using computers to study cities that are now composed of computers. If ever there was a tautology this is it and of course this makes the world we seek to understand fascinating. Winston Churchill’s quote from 1943 says it all in terms of buildings but it is true of everything we invent. Our ideas come back to haunt us because they change the very motivations for those ideas in the first place. I first came across this quote a while ago in Stewart Brand’s How Buildings Learn, another great book from the master of speculating on the role of technology in the modern world.