Science and technology, should we fear it?

“The English hierarchy has equal reason to tremble at an air pump, or an electrical machine” (Johnson, 148) In the second half of Johnson’s book, Joseph Priestly states that the rapid process of knowledge will “undue and usurped authority in the business of religion, as well as of science”. He also states that the scientific progress will link to political change. (Johnson, 148) In the first mentioned quote, he makes it clear that his own country will “not be immune” to these inventions. Priestley was criticized of attempting to undermine the authority of the church and the government. The things he said is acceptable in our contemporary world, but back then it was not acceptable to criticize, especially the church, the way he did. His reasonings for why governments or religions should fear air pumps and electrical machines, is that these inventions will in the future undermine the authorities by exposing even more ideas to as many minds as possible, and: “the system will ultimately gravitate toward truth and consensus” (147, Johnson).

An example of scientific or technological research that has hold social and political consequences is for instance the automation of much of the work that was before hand carried out by humans – the blue-collar workers. Through artificial intelligence certain white-collar jobs has also been destructed. The wide automation has of course led to creation of new jobs, but these new jobs demand other qualifications that the blue-collar workers might not have. Some people fear that we are facing a permanent reduction in the need for human labor, and scientific or technological research is definitely increasing. You never know in this incredible development world that we live in, right at this moment.