Sunday, May 30, 2010

Oil Spill as a Cautionary Tale

The difficulty in stopping the BP's oil leak in the gulf is turning into a cautionary tale about what we can expect from technology. The NYTIMES has a story on this titled, Our Fix-it Faith and the Oil Spill.
Americans have long had an unswerving belief that technology will save us — it is the cavalry coming over the hill, just as we are about to lose the battle. And yet, as Americans watched scientists struggle to plug the undersea well over the past month, it became apparent that our great belief in technology was perhaps misplaced.

“Americans have a lot of faith that over the long run technology will solve everything, a sense that somehow we’re going to find a way to fix it,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. He said Pew polling in 1999 — before the September 2001 terror attacks — found that 64 percent of Americans pessimistically believed that a terrorist attack on the United States probably or definitely would happen. But they were na├»vely optimistic about the fruits of technology: 81 percent said there would be a cure for cancer, 76 percent said we would put men on Mars.

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