Dominique Pestre at Lift on the tensions between technology and society

Dominique Pestre, historian of Science at EHESS, Paris, launched LIFT09 with a provocative speech on how technology impacts society and markets. He identified 4 tensions as an outcome of innovation and technology.

  1. Technology transforms society. So it is natural that society reacts. For example, bio tech proposes to transform the body (cloning) so it is normal that the debate is strong around it.
  2. The logic of markets vs the logic of democracy.  One has to wait for these new technologies to be implemented and adopted to see whether or not they are positive or negative for us.  For example, we can only evaluate the effect of industrialization on environment 2 centuries later
  3. Technologies, markets and social orders always need to be governed and managed.
  4. Tensions around the many regulations that make any democratic order. For example, the regulation of chemical production between expert agencies and justice in 1810 around Marseille, when the soda industry started.