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  •                                  NETFUTURE
                        Technology and Human Responsibility
    Issue #136                                              September 26, 2002
                     A Publication of The Nature Institute
               Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
                      On the Web: http://www.netfuture.org/
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    Can we take responsibility for technology, or must we sleepwalk
    in submission to its inevitabilities?  NetFuture is a voice for
    responsibility.  It depends on the generosity of those who support
    its goals.  To make a contribution, click here.
    Editor's Note
    Quotes and Provocations
       The Evolution of Progress
    What Are the Right Questions? (Kevin Kelly and Stephen L. Talbott)
        ... regarding machines and organisms
    About this newsletter
                                  EDITOR'S NOTE
    Due to a domain-name disconnect between O'Reilly & Associates (which hosts
    the NetFuture website) and Speednames.com (the domain name registry),
    www.netfuture.org was inaccessible for a week or two, until a few days
    ago.  I was on vacation at the time the problem set in.  You should have
    no difficulty reaching the site now.
    With the relatively brief exchange in this issue, Kevin Kelly and I resume
    our ongoing dialogue.  Given our previous difficulty in achieving direct
    engagement, this current installment represents, I think, a kind of
    pulling back on both our parts to reassess how we might proceed more
    effectively.  This introspective pause appears to have been helpful, and I
    am now much more optimistic about the prospects for a mutual illumination
    of our two views.
    A fair while back I mentioned a piece I'd written called "The Lure of
    Complexity", an essay about complexity studies in science.  Part 2 of that
    essay is now available on our website:
    Goto table of contents
                             QUOTES AND PROVOCATIONS
    The Evolution of Progress
    A few notes from my re-reading of Historical Consciousness, a 1968
    work by historian John Lukacs:
    ** "Those who keep talking about our Revolutionary Age of Dizzying Change
    and of Unprecedented Progress [Lukacs writes] literally don't know what
    they are talking about".  In particular, he argues that, for large numbers
    of people in the West (and especially the U.S.), living conditions -- life
    expectancy and infant mortality; the occurrence of physical pain; the
    quality of personal medical care; the literacy rate; the comfort and
    conveniences su