Futuribles Journal n° 419

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Technology and Society: Irresistible Evolution


The month of May 2017 was marked by a cyber-attack of international dimensions that affected companies and public organizations, demonstrating how vulnerable our contemporaries are to the current technical system. The relationship between human beings and technology is a structuring element of our civilization and has been so for centuries, if not millennia. Nonetheless, the staggering progress we have seen in science and technology since the mid-20th century, as well as the broadening of the scope of technology to communications, human relations and even the human body itself, has raised a wide range of questions. Hence the importance of the long-term analysis of the relations between society and technology offered here by Thierry Gaudin: what does the past tell us about those relations and the way technical culture is developed and disseminated? What have the engines of technical progress been, what are they today, and what do they reveal about our human organizational structures? How are we to envision the future evolution of technical progress, which depends more now on IT multinationals than it does on states, and whose major driver is the manipulation of minds? In this context, are we irremediably condemned just to go along with the evolution of the technical system, or can society still find positive, progressive solutions for a system that is disrupting both economic exchange and human relations?