Political Science, Department of


Date of this Version



STS Nexus (Santa Clara University) (2001) 1(2): 9-14.


Copyright 2001, Santa Clara University. Used by permission. (This issue of the STS NEXUS summarizes the panel discussions from the Santa Clara University sesquicentennial conference: Technology and Us––A Vision for the Future held April 26, 2001, and moderated by Haynes Johnson.)


Technological change has the potential to have profound effects on politics, the economy, and society. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution provides ample evidence of the significant effect of technology on humankind. Today the Internet has transformed the way we communicate, learn, work, and play. What are the dangers and opportunities presented by this new technology? One hundred years from now, will society look back upon this period of technological change as one that led to a more productive and peaceful world, or will they view it as the beginning of a dark period in human history, one characterized by political instability, economic inequality, and societal dysfunction?

In this Keynote Dialog, three outstanding scholars addressed the potential impact of the Internet on our lives: Manuel Castells (Professor of Sociology and of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley), Amy Bruckman (Assistant Professor in the College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology) and William Davidow (Founder and Partner, Mohr, Davidow Ventures). I begin by presenting an edited transcription of each of their opening statements, then turn to a synthesis of their arguments, and conclude with the key challenges and questions these arguments pose for future research.