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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Historical Perspective of Technology and Planning


Technology is our savior. We see, hear and experience this mes- sage constantly in popular culture, from advertisements that demon- strate how technological gadgets make us smarter and perhaps even more likable to forecasts by financial analysts that the information economy will continue to increase wealth for savvy investors. The hype produced by this common message implies that unless we jump on the information age bandwagon, we risk missing out on its vast benefits. Futuristic writers such as Alvin Toffler, Bill Gates, and Nicho- las Negroponte proclaim the arrival of a digital age, in which the conditions of home, work and play are greatly enhanced through the omnipresence of information processing chips in all facets of life. As Christine Boyer puts it, computer technology has become such an important part of life for some people, a way of life that “has bred its own form of transcendental utopianism”.

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