As We Now Think contains reflections, scholarly musings, far-sighted analysis and insights from the community of scholars, thinkers and writers that goes by the name of CSPO – Consortium for Science Policy and Outcomes, at Arizona State University. The product of a comingling of disciplines, As We Now Think critically engages the human dimensions of technology and science.
The series takes its name from “As We May Think,” a classic article by Vannevar Bush, the first presidential science advisor, organizer of the Manhattan Project and founder of the National Science Foundation. Published in 1945 in one of America’s foremost literary magazines, The Atlantic, Bush sought to anticipate the ethical, social and political challenges of emerging technologies. In the process grappling with vexing questions of what kinds of innovations do humans want – and what innovations do they need – Bush explored the frontiers of then barely-imaginable forms of information technology, including the desktop computer and the Internet. In his closing sentences, Bush reflected on a set of challenges that animate thinkers on techno-scientific change of our own times.
“The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein,” Bush wrote. “They have enabled him to throw masses of people against one another with cruel weapons. They may yet allow him truly to encompass the great record and to grow in the wisdom of race experience. He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that record for his true good. Yet, in the application of science to the needs and desires of man, it would seem to be a singularly unfortunate stage at which to terminate the process, or to lose hope as to the outcome.”
To a thoughtful, reasoned and even sceptical optimism, As We Now Think is dedicated.