We develop an idea, apply it, and the idea then changes us. This is generic to the human condition, but we only recognise its significance during periods of very rapid change when we have amassed enough knowledge to appreciate this insight. Of course, over a lifetime, many who reflect on change recognise this as being central to their experience, but it is only in periods of very rapid transition that we appreciate this insight over the short term. This is best encapsulated in Winston Churchill’s (1943) statement about the rebuilding of Parliament when he said: “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.” This quote is generic to much of what we invent and build, and it is certainly true of the technologies that underpin modern society.
We make our technologies and then they make us
Environment and Planning B
2013 volume 40(5) pages 761 – 762