Steven speaks about how governments fear the air pump and the electrical machines. It’s not that they fear specially those items, but it’s an analogy to fear of innovation and progress. Religious organizations and governments require strict order to work. This is why Priestley and his associates refused to incorporate politics and science together. They believe these did not mix well and it would limit progress. Steven talks about how some have the tendency to hold onto the past and learn from the education of our elders which limits progress. As Thomas Jefferson said to Priestley in his letter “We were to look backwards. Not forwards. For improvement.” (Jefferson, 1801 letter). Describing how previous generation had innovated. Presley was one of the first to challenge these ideals. And even after he receive harsh backlash from it, he never lost sight of his ideas.
An example that came to my mind when I read this question was the development of artificial intelligence. It stood out to me not because it’s just a knew development, but in a sense a new way of thinking. We have already invented many different forms of AI, and I don’t believe it will be long before the government takes notice (if they haven’t already). And when they do I believe they will address a lot of political and social issues that will have the possibility to arise. It when this does happen, I believe that it could limit the development of AI. Or possible even halt the development all together, which could really limit the possibilities of computing.