Death by Technology

The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Inventions


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About the Book

This book refutes the 21st-century notion that advancing technology is an unambiguous social good, and examines the effects of this uncritical acceptance and dependence. The author argues that technology has become the new religion for the digital age, and that elevating technology to nearly the status of a deity allows for the denial of problems created by reliance upon machines. From the release of toxins into the environment to the unsustainable energy demands of the modern era, technological dependence is driving humanity near the brink of extinction. Despite these problems, and existential issues such as artificial intelligence and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, many people have an unwavering belief in the ability of technology, particularly any device labeled “smart,” to create a perfect future—while denying the history of unmet promises and unintended consequences of technological innovation. The author explores the psychological underpinnings of these beliefs from both a clinical and a cognitive perspective. The social and economic forces that maintain our reliance on, or addiction to, technology are critiqued as are the ethical and security issues associated with the control of advanced technology.

About the Author(s)

John R. Cook is an associate professor of clinical psychology at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Bibliographic Details

John R. Cook

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 281
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8030-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4227-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

An Author’s Note and Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
1. The Deification of Technology 5
2. The Myth of Progress 23
3. Killing All the Bees: Technology and Environment 50
4. The Coming Cataclysm: A Runaway Train Jumps the Tracks 71
5. Unmet Promises: Life as a Beta Test 88
6. Unintended Consequences: The God of Technology Is a Tricky Devil 101
7. Involuntary Cyborg: No Place to Hide 116
8. Big Data, the Surveillance State and the Death of Privacy 144
9. Artificial Intelligence: Meet Your Android Overlords 172
10. Death by Technology: The Nuclear Menace and WMDs 191
11. Evolutionary Dead End: Wrong Turn? 214
Bibliography 231
Index 263