“The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. 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” — Vannevar Bush
I am going to try to keep my response and analysis specifically focused on this paragraph, because my thoughts seemed to get terribly muddled in the grand scheme of the article. It is the first sentence that struck me in Bush’s closing paragraph, particularly “The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house.” I don’t think science has done anything of the sort. Science is a tool that man uses, so any house that has been built for man has been built by man. The thought that kept popping up while I read this article was that I feel that man creates the science as it is needed. The reason the pharaoh wasn’t building cars around Egypt wasn’t because it wasn’t economically efficient, it’s because no one’s brain was focused on solving that problem because that problem didn’t exist. New technology brings new problems, which brings on even more new technology. Because of this I don’t think we will ever stop creating, our science won’t perish. If only because we keep creating new expectations and with those expectations, new problems. From that we will always innovate.
Radiolab discusses the inevitability of innovation: http://www.radiolab.org/story/101024-idea-time-come/
Question – “What are you seeing as the difference between science, technology, and inventions? Are they the same?”
Answer – “I think that they are different definition-wise (or else they wouldn’t have their own words!) but are very strongly intertwined. I feel that science is sort of a standing fact, independent of human beings. The science exists whether we understand it or not. For instance, quarks were always quarks before we even realized it. Science is just the amazing explanation for what is and why. I think technology, on the other hand, is a concept completely dependent on humans. Inventions as well. Those are humans interacting with science and the world and building from it. “