“78 Reasonable Questions to Ask about Any Technology” is from the book “Turning Away from Technology” by Stephanie Mills and originally derived from 76 questions that were written by Jacques Ellul.
A great video commentary by Jacques Ellul called “The Betrayl by Technology” can be found here.
A print version (PDF) of these questions can be found here.
- What are its effects on the health of the planet and of the person?
- Does it preserve or destroy biodiversity?
- Does it preserve or reduce ecosystem integrity?
- What are its effects on the land?
- What are its effects on wildlife?
- How much and what kind of waste does it generate?
- Does it incorporate the principles of ecological design?
- Does it break the bond of renewal between humans and nature?
- Does it preserve or reduce cultural biodiversity?
- What is the totality of its effects, it’s “ecology”?
- Does it serve community?
- Does it empower community members?
- How does it affect our perception of our needs?
- Is it consistent with the creation of a communal, human economy?
- What are its effects on relationships?
- Does it undermine conviviality?
- Does it undermine traditional forms of community?
- How does it affect our way of sensing and experiencing the world?
- Does it foster a diversity of forms of knowledge?
- Does it build on, or contribute to, the renewal of traditional forms of knowledge?
- Does it serve to commodify knowledge or relationships?
- To what extent does it redefine reality?
- Does it raise a sense of time and history?
- What is its potential to become addictive?
- What values does its use foster?
- What is gained by its use?
- What are its effects beyond its ability to the individual?
- What is lost in using it?
- What are its effects on the least person in the society?
- Is it ugly?
- Does it cause ugliness?
- What noise does it make?
- What pace does it set?
- How does it affect quality of life (as distinct from standard of living)?
- What does it make?
- Who does it benefit?
- What is its purpose?
- Where was it produced?
- Where is it used?
- Where must it go when it’s broken or obsolete?
- How expensive is it?
- Can it be repaired? By an ordinary person?
- What is the entirety of its cost, the full cost accounting?
- How complicated is it?
- What does it allow us to ignore?
- To what extent does it distance us from effect?
- Can we assume personal, or communal, responsibility for its effects?
- Can its effects be directly apprehended?
- What ancillary technologies does it require?
- What behavior might it make possible in the future?
- What other technologies might it make possible?
- Does it alter our sense of time and relationships in ways conducive to nihilism?
- What is its impact on craft?
- Does it reduce, deaden, or enhance human creativity?
- Is it the least imposing technology available for the task?
- Does it replace, or does it aid, human hands and human beings?
- Can it be responsive to organic circumstance?
- Does it depress or enhance the quality of goods?
- Does it depress or enhance the meaning of work?
- What is its mystique?
- Does it concentrate or equalize power?
- Does it require, or institute, a knowledge elite?
- Is it totalitarian?
- Does it require a bureaucracy for its perpetuation?
- What legal empowerments does it require?
- Does it undermine traditional moral authority?
- Does it require military defense?
- Does it enhance, or serve, military purposes?
- How does it affect warfare?
- Does it foster a mass thinking or behavior?
- Is it consistent with the creation of global economy?
- Does it empower transnational corporations?
- What kind of capital does it require?
- What aspect of the inner self does it reflect?
- Does it express love?
- Does it express rage?
- What aspect of our past does it reflect?
- Does it reflect cynical or linear thinking?
2 thoughts on “78 Questions to Ask about Any Technology”
Could you please give the reference of the text of Ellul in which he develops these 76 questions?
I cannot find it.
Hi, I’m not aware of the original source. His books can be found at The Pirate Bay and searched through.