Technology, Prediction, and Disorder
The topic assigned to me joins in a familiar way science and technology. Not long ago this would have been irritating to pure scientists,and in particular to someone studying abstract mathematics. The connection is appropriate, however, because science is not very pure. Even mathematical logic turns out, to the surprise of most of those practicing it twenty years ago, to be very useful in electronic brains. Science and technology have always been linked; and inseparably. As both Leonardo and Francis Bacon at the dawn of the age of science knew very well, knowledge is not only understanding and therefore good in itself, knowledge is also power, the mastery of nature. Predicting is at least one condition for controlling, for changing things, shaping them to human ends. And since many of the purposes of men conflict, knowledge also inevitably involves the power to destroy. The duality of peaceful and warlike uses of knowledge is intrinsic.