Acceptance speech – Mike Cooley
Science and technology is not given. It was made by people like us. If it's not doing for us what we want, we have a right and a responsibility to change it.
Science and technology is not given. It was made by people like us. If it's not doing for us what we want, we have a right and a responsibility to change it.
I’d like to start by apologising for speaking English. I am deeply concerned about cultural imperialism, and although I can read a certain amount of Swedish I couldn’t make a speech, so please accept my apologies.
It seems to me that one of the major contradictions now confronting our so-called technologically advanced societies is the gap between that which technology could provide for society, and that which it actually does provide for society. The science and technology of the military industrial complex, in which I’ve worked for twenty years, can now produce guidance systems so incredibly sophisticated that we can aim a missile system on to an entirely different continent with a degree of accuracy of a few millimetres; but the blind and the lame in our society still stumble across roads in rather the same way as they did in medieval times. We’ve got recognition systems which can recognize an enemy missile thousands of miles away, but we’re incapable of recognizing the real enemies in our midst: the squalor, the disease and the filth which results in something like six hundred million people throughout this planet starving. Probably the ultimate in our weapon sophistication is that we can now produce (and are producing) weapon systems which will destroy human beings and will leave property intact; yet we are incapable of eliminating poverty even here in metropolitan Europe. A recent EEC report suggests that something like thirteen million people in the EEC are undernourished, and in the third world it’s much worse.
I think it’s a measure of the depravity of the whole value system of our society that in countries like Britain 50% of our scientists and technologists spend their lifetime working on weapon systems which they know in their heart of hearts – if they were ever used – would probably mean the end of humanity as we now know it. Even when we get the so-called spin-offs from the military-industrial complex, we end up with something as sophisticated as Concorde, yet that very same society allows old age pensioners to die of hypothermia because they cannot get a simple effective heating system. The spin-off from the guidance systems and the communication networks for the missiles have meant that we can send messages around the world in fractions of a second, but it now takes longer to send an ordinary letter from Washington to New York than it did in the days of the stagecoach. By using some of the most advanced interactive graphic techniques from the aero-dynamic side of the armaments industry we can optimise car bodies so that they are aero-dynamically stable at about 180 km.p.h, when the average speed of a car through the centre of New York is now 11 km.p.h. It was 16 km.p.h. at the turn of the century when they were horsedrawn. It was in an attempt to reverse this sad history that the Lucas workers drew up the corporate plan. I would firstly like to describe to you the scale and nature of the company so that you get some idea of the kind of forces you have to face when you engage on an enterprise of this kind.
Lucas Aero-Space is owned by a vast multi-national corporation employing seventy five thousand people in the UK, and something like thirty five thousand abroad. It’s development in recent years has been characterised firstly by a shift of capital into Europe, so much so that the French government had to enact specific legislation to prevent Lucas monopolizing parts of their production. Even nation states now feel themselves threatened by these vast corporations. The company has been expanding rapidly into those parts of the world where labour is badly organized and where there are resources which can be exploited and developed. The Aero-Space division which I shall be describing began towards the end of the 1960’s to take over a whole range of smaller companies. This was a form of rationalization which has been repeated in ship-building in Sweden, in the automotive industry in W. Germany and elsewhere. Some of the factories were small, quite flexible plants, employing about 300 people. Others were large dedicated plants employing something like 3,000 people. They grouped them all together and they ended up with a national configuration of seventeen plants throughout the UK employing something like 18,000 workers in the Aero-Space division.
It was clear to us that the company was going to rationalize that set-up out of existence, close down some of the plants, and set one against the other. In order that they could not do that, we established an organisation which is still unique in the British Labour and Trade Union movement. It’s called Lucas Aero-Space Combine Shop Stewards Committee, and it links together the highest level technologists in the company with the people on the shop floor. Thus you have in one organisation the analytical power of the scientist and the technologist linked together with, what in my experience is more important: the common sense of people who work on the shop floor.
Before we could get that organisation properly established, we established our own small little newspaper so that the workforce had an alternative source of information rather than depend on the management. It very rapidly developed into quite an extensive newspaper which now goes to all our plants and informs people through their own network exactly what is happening in the other plants.
Before we could get the Committee properly going the company said it was going to close an old plant in a working class area of London. There were about 1,500 people working there, this was in 1972. We occupied the plant, even the laboratories, we prevented the company taking equipment in or out, but we were simply campaigning for the right to produce the same old products in the same old way. The work force couldn’t see where all this was leading, and their morale had so declined by the sixth weekend that they didn’t occupy it on Saturday and Sunday. The company heard that, they called in a demolition group, they tore the roof off the factory, they took the high capital equipment out and then set the building on fire to demolish it. Now I don’t know about Sweden but there is much said in Britain about vandalism, by which is meant a few children having a punch‑up at a football match, but as far as we were concerned this was vandalism of an infinitely greater order which had snatched from us overnight the sole means by which we express ourselves economically and otherwise.
So we were totally defeated, I think it is important when you’ve been defeated either in your private life or in your community or in whichever group you belong to, that you look realistically at that defeat, and you analyze it, and see how you can handle it more creatively next time around. In the discussion that arose out of that disaster one worker asked an elegantly simple question. He said “Why can we not use the skills and abilities that we’ve got to meet the interests of the community as a whole? Why can we not produce socially useful products which will help human beings rather than maim them?”
Now the first stage in that process was to get the workforce to begin to analyze its own skills and abilities. The process I now describe, in my view, could be applied to any city, to any industry or to any part of a country or indeed perhaps to a total country itself. The work‑force began to go out and look at what was going on in the different workshops and laboratories. They found that we had a high temperature, high pressure test facilities, climatic chambers in which we can assimilate conditions in near or outer space. We’ve got one of the most highly skilled workforces in the UK, although I would argue that skill in the sense of technical skill really had nothing to do with what happened. Some of the most exciting things that are happening are amongst unskilled and de‑skilled people.
We were producing a range of equipment from high precision mechanical equipment to highly stressed but lightweight sections for the RB2‑11 engines, complete gas turbines including all the gears and equipment, and we also have our own electronics industry where the airborne computers are produced to control the aircraft systems.
Now this was the first time in their lives that the Lucas workers actually realized what was going on in the different workshops, what was going on in the different laboratories. In Britain we are conditioned to view the world through the one machine we operate or the one desk from which we function. Never are we encouraged to take a panoramic view of our industry, or see how that industry relates to other people and to other requirements.
Having collected all of that data, we then did what society conditions people like us to do. We asked 180 experts what they thought we could be doing with that skill and ability. We wrote to university professors who had given profound lectures in the monastic quiet of the universities; we wrote to intellectuals who had written massive books about how science and technology should be made relevant; we wrote to every professional body in the UK; we wrote to the bureaucracies of all the major trade unions. Out of all those 180 world authorities only three were able to say anything that was remotely useful. From the rest of them we got vague generalizations. Some of them said ‘If you refer to my paper of 1972 in Boston ref‑32 is relevant to the problem you wish to address.’ Nothing specific around which industrial workers could organize themselves to cope with the real problems which were grinding in on top of them.
We then did what we should have done in the first instance. We asked our own workforce what they thought they could and should be doing. We arranged discussions in all the factories, and then we followed that up with a unique questionnaire. We tried to discuss with some sociologists how we could design a questionnaire to elicit the information and creativity which I will describe in a moment. These were sociologists from both the left and the right, and one of them said to us, ‘One thing you should always remember is to design the questionnaire so that the consciousness of the person filling it in is not changed.’ They said ‘It is inadmissible as a research methodology to change the consciousness of those involved. You should be an objective researcher from outside examining the phenomena in a scientific way.’
We sought to do precisely the opposite. We deliberately structured the questionnaire so that those filling it in were caused to have their consciousness turned right on it’s head. We asked them to think of themselves in their dual role in society, both as producers and as consumers, so that we transcended that ridiculous division which suggests that there is one nation that works in factories, offices and schools; and an entirely different nation that lives in houses and communities. We said that what you do during the day should be relevant to the way that you and your family would hope to live for the rest of your life.
Within six weeks we had this incredible outpouring of creativity. We did not insist that people wrote these great theses about the products they felt we could be making. I don’t know about Sweden, but in Britain we confuse linguistic ability with intelligence. We are far more impressed by what people say and write rather than by what they do. In my experience industrial workers express their intelligence by how they do things, how they organize them rather than how they talk about them. So we said to the workforce: “If you wish to make models of the products you want, just go and make the models; if you want to talk about it, come and we’ll talk about it.”
We have refined the 150 proposals we got into six product ranges, and I will briefly describe a few of them. We grouped these into six volumes where we describe each of the product ranges in some detail. The first product range is in the medical field. We were horrified to find that as part of the rationalization programme, the company was getting rid of two of the only socially useful products we were making. One was a pacemaker for people with weak hearts, the other one was a dialysis machine, a kidney machine. When we looked for the requirements of kidney machines in Britain we were horrified to learn that every year 3,000 people die because they cannot get a kidney machine. In the Birmingham area the patients are allowed, as the consultant so nicely put it to us, ‘to go into decline,’ If you’re under 15 or over 45 you are allowed to go ‘into decline’. The same kind of problem exists in Sweden, W.Germany and the United States. To cut a long story short, we’ve redesigned the kidney machine, we’ve built in carbon filters and we’ve now got a microprocessor in it so the patient can wear it on their back like a rucksack. They have the dignity of doing a worthwhile job rather than be acted upon like a piece of wood, which is frequently what Western medical technology does.
Another product we’ve designed is a vehicle for children with spina bifida. Now it’s frequently asked where we are going to get the money to produce these products. Very seldom do we ask what is the cost of not making something. In the modern industrial nations, if you put a worker out of work and they’ve got a couple of dependents, you have to pay them about 60% of the average industrial wage. There is a loss of revenue to the nation state of about 40%. Add the two together and it’s about 100% of the average industrial wage.
We went to the then Labour government and said “Why could we not have this money and produce socially useful products?” Of course they were incapable of answering that, because it is so full of common sense that it is beyond the reason of politicians. We then looked at the social multipliers. You have the drug taking, the neuroses, the inter‑personal violence, the illness which is directly related to unemployment. If you take all that into account, you get some measure of the cost to society as a whole of these large corporations as they rationalize themselves and put more and more people out of work.
We do not believe that our society can go on wasting materials and energy in the way in which it is now doing, and we’ve designed a whole range of energy conserving systems. One of them is a heat pump which runs on natural gas in an internal combusion engine. You can get 2.8 times as much useful energy in the house as you would get if you burn it directly, and about twice as much as you would get if you were driving the unit by electricity. Lucas said that they would not produce these as they were incompatible with their product range and would not be profitable. We intercepted a secret company report which showed that the market for these would be something like £1,000,000,000, in the EEC countries by 1986. But Lucas would not produce them because that would mean admitting that the workforce was able to say what could be made, how it should be made, and in whose interest. You see, we’re dealing not just with an economic system, we’re also dealing with a political system which is concerned about demonstrating its power and holding on to that power.
We have also designed a hybrid power‑pack for cars, coaches or trains. You may or may not know that the engine in your car is about four times bigger than it need be, to give you take‑off torque, that is to get the car going. Once you’ve got it moving a very much smaller one would do. On the other hand an electric motor has got a high starting torque, so we’ve linked the two together to create a hybrid power‑pack. All the energy you waste as you idle at traffic lights, as you start cold in the morning, as you are caught in traffic jams is all going in as useful energy into the system. You can reduce energy consumption by 50% and toxic emissions, the poisonous gases, by about 80%.
But what is unique about this is that we’ve designed it with bolted construction, carefully selected the materials and increased the bearing sizes so that it is capable of running, with suitable maintenance, for about 20 years. And you can actually maintain it, it’s deliberately designed so that you can repair it. Now some people said “If you do that it would cause unemployment”. We had a guts feeling that if you designed so that you could repair it, there would be as much work repairing it as you would have on mass production lines producing on a throw away basis.
There has just been a report from the Batelle Institute in Geneva which shows that if you design cars and engines to last for twenty years, not only would you conserve energy and materials, but you would create 65% more work. And the work you would create would be the interesting diagnostic, fiddling type of work that human beings love doing, rather than the grotesque alienated work that you get on production lines. These are real options that are open to us!
Now we would like to see that built into a unique vehicle we have designed, which we call a Hybrid Road‑Rail vehicle, which is capable of running as a bus on normal roads and also running railway line in particular branch lines. In order to design this vehicle, and even to think of it, it was necessary for us to look at different levels of reality of technology. The first level of reality of the transport systems is the ad man’s version of the car. The car is always new and gleaming, it will typically have a power‑pack in it four times bigger than it need have, to give you peak velocity which you can’ t even use on a motorway. You’re given the impression that you’re letting yourself and your family down if you don’t have a new one every two or three years, and it is usually designed around the wheel arches or maybe the sub frame to ensure that it will begin to fall apart after two or three years, always shown in a rural setting, the beautiful countryside, the idea being that it liberates you at the evening and the weekends from the squalor you’ve spent the rest of your time producing.
The second order of reality is what this is doing to our cities, shaking antique buildings apart, polluting the centres. The third order of reality is the tragic wastage of energy and materials of all kinds. One could do an energy count of the sheet steel, the glass, the rubber. Suffice to say that if you throw away a car under 80,000 miles, or ten years, whichever comes first, you are throwing away the amount of energy that would be required to drive it.
But worst of all, it seems to us, is the waste of the lives of the human beings who, day in day out, have got to degrade themselves on production lines producing that sort of throw‑away rubbish.
Coming back to the road‑rail vehicle, how could you use it on railway systems? We found that the Canadians had simply got a normal car body and put two sets of guide wheels on front, so that you could go up an incline on one in six (because you were driving it with rubber tyres) which means that instead of having to flatten the mountains and fill up the valleys, which will typically cost a million pounds per track mile, you could follow the contours of the countryside.
But clearly that wouldn’t work very well because you would have to lift off these guide wheels when you wanted to go from the road to the rail. So one of our colleagues suggested a simple mechanism that could link in to the guidance system on the railways, where you’d have a small wheel that would follow the contours of the track, and when you wanted to go from road to rail you could lift it up. We built a small prototype and it functioned perfectly. We then built a version where we’ve got the guide mechanism in‑board with two sets of steering wheels.
In designing and building this we deliberately did not make a virtue of complexity. In the aero‑space and the military industrial complex we love to make everything complex, and I’m a stress analyst myself and I can make most things look complex. We normally use very very long mathematical formula, we then test the thing out in reality and if it doesn’t function, we modify the mathematics to suit the reality. We still end up with a big formula, which means that we look very profound, but that practical manual workers on the shop floor just don’t know what’s going on.
In this case we deliberately didn’t do it that way at all. We asked a skilled worker what size he thought the axle should be. He said 35 millimetres, we made it 35 millimetres and it’s functioning perfectly ‑ and of course it is, because that person had spend a lifetime making axles and components. In other words we were utilising that precious tacit knowledge which Polanyi described when he said: “They are things we know but cannot tell”. By using this practical knowledge it is possible to democratise decision‑making within the design process and involve masses of so‑called ordinary people. We then collected money throughout the factories and bought an old coach. We took out the steering mechanism and, in this unique centre we’ve set up at the North East London Polytechnic, we assembled it and we tested it on the Sussex railway line and it functioned perfectly. Now this has become our sort of technological agit‑prop. We can now travel any place throughout the country on either road or rails. We’ve got video tapes and slides inside so that we can stop in communities and people can really see how you could begin to move towards an integrated ecologically desirable transport system. When there are demonstrations against unemployment this vehicle leads the parade as a demonstration of the kind of things that people could be doing.
We also produced the hob‑cart for children with spina bifida. I should point out that this very very simple little product was designed by Mike Parry Evans, one of the leading systems designers in the world. He said that when he took this little cart down to this five year old child and saw the pleasure on its face, that meant far more to him than all these abstract problems we deal with in the military industrial complex. For the first time he actually saw the person who was going to use the product which he had designed and he was physically in contact with the problem because he had to make a clay mold of the child’s back. Lucas refused to produce these hobcarts because they were ‘incompatible’ with their product range! Some 500 have now been produced in a Borstal ‑ a prison for young people. Some of the social workers there have pointed out the extraordinary humanising effect this has had on the young prisoners.
At the beginning of the 1800’s in the USA there used to be 86% of the population working in agriculture. Gradually that has been automated so that they now even have tractors which can find their way around the field and 4% can now produce an agricultural output many times greater than before automation. But the energy you get from the food so produced is actually less than the energy input if you take into account the tractors, the harvesters, and the chemicals. Likewise in manufacturing with this automation, for example in the case of the telephone industry where it used to take 26 workers to produce one unit of equivalent switching power, with first generation electronics it will be ten, soon it will be one. But I don’t think anybody can seriously suggest that it’s going to be possible to increase production by 26 times. We are confusing productivity and production. In our view we are going to see the cyclical basis of unemployment going up and the base of unemployment continuing to rise, and the jobs vacant going down, so that the gap between the two gets bigger and bigger. There is now talk in one of the latest EEC reports that there could be 20,000,000 people out of work in the EEC countries by 1988. And as the unemployment grows so it will be said that we must have more armaments industries, that that’s a way of overcoming the problems of unemployment.
What we feel is vital is that we point out that there are real alternatives, and that work is important to human beings. I don’t mean grotesque alienated work, but work in it’s historical context, which need hand and brain in a meaningful productive process. If you ask anybody what they are, they will never say a Beethoven lover, a Bob Dylan fan or a James Joyce reader, (it’s perhaps a pity that they don’t) but they say I’m a fitter, a turner, a teacher, a nurse or whatever. We relate to society and to other people by the work we do, and we learn and develop as we work on the world about us.
It used to be argued that, while there is unemployment, after all the new jobs which emerge from the new technology will be that much more fulfilling, exciting and interesting. A whole range of industrial sociologists have said that. We have examined what has been happening when you introduce the most advanced numerically controlled equipment and we found it to be incredibly de‑skilling. There has recently been a report from the American Machinist in the United States, a leading technical paper, which says that the ideal worker at these machines should have a mental age of twelve, and, as one American sociologist put it, if they weren’t mentally retarded when they went in, they certainly will be when they come out.
But there are real alternatives to that kind of technology. We’ve taken a conventional lathe (I don’t want to bore you with the technical details, because there is nothing worse than a technologist going on about technology) and we have looked at the intelligence that a worker uses as they go through the skilled labour process of turning it. We found that there are 180 sub‑sets, and we’ve found a way of integrating those sub‑sets, so that we can now design an interface between the human being and the machine, where you use the tacit knowledge of the skilled turner. We therefore have a system in which a skilled worker will simply make a judgement of what the factor of rigidity of the system will be. You can get the advantage of advanced technology with human intelligence ‑ absolutely the reverse of the way things are going. In the highest level fields of intellectual work exactly the same sort of de‑skilling and control is taking place. I have described extensively in my book ‘Architect or Bee’ these developments in several fields of intellectual work including design using Computer Aided Design (CAD).
Now what we are already finding is that problems posed in that way are so abstract, so disconnected from the real world, that people don’t actually recognise any longer what they’re designing. We had a grotesque example where they were designing an igniter for an afterburner, that’s like a spark plug. It was the first generation of designers who had never worked in the physical world about them, and everything is in X and Y and Z co‑ordinates. The designer got the decimal point one place to the right and de‑skilled workers on the shop floor frantically looked around for material ten times bigger in every direction and actually manufactured an igniter. When they took it up to the designer and crashed it down on his desk, he didn’t recognise that it was ten times bigger than it should be.
There’s a whole area of concern now amongst computer scientists that we’re getting so separated from the real world that we’re beginning to fail to recognise the actual world that we’re working on. But there is another much more complex problem, as the human being interacts with this kind of equipment. The human being is the dialectical opposite of the machine. If we speak in systems terms, the human being is slow, inconsistent, unreliable, but highly creative. The machine is fast, consistent, reliable and totally non‑creative. The system can handle the quantitative elements so fast that the decision rate of the designer can be forced up by 1800% as he attempts to keep pace and deal with the qualitative judgements.
We find that the interaction is so great that the creativity of the worker is reduced by 30% in the first hour, by 80% in the second hour, and thereafter they’re shattered. They’re now working out the response time of intellectual workers using this kind of equipment. They give them tasks of varying complexity and they work out the response rate. They’ve discovered, made the incredible discovery, that as you get older, so you get slower. Now I knew that as a child of five, when I looked at my grandparents.
Having collected all of that data they then worked out the peak performance ages for different groups of workers. They found that a mathematician would reach his or her peak performance at the age of 24‑25. For a theoretical physicist it’s a little later, 26‑27. Right the way through the spectrum to the mechanical engineer apparently we’re the most durable of all, it’s 34, which means I’m thirteen years beyond my peak performance age. They then say we should have a careers plateau and thereafter a careers de‑escalation.
The point I want to make to you here is that not only does this kind of technology burn up energy and materials, it also burns up human beings. The shape of that performance curve is exactly the same as that which existed at earlier historical stages for manual workers could reach their peak prowess when they were 18, could stand the pressure for about ten years and thereafter were burned up. If you look at the rate at which manual workers are required to work in modern industry, you get some idea of what has been happening to them. In one of the most highly automated and computerized plants in Europe, they’ve got an agreement that the workforce will have as its rest period 32.4 minutes, and the elements that make that up are as follows: trips to the lavatory 1.62 mins (it’s computer precise, it’s not 1.6 or 1.7, it’s 1.62 inins), recovery from fatigue 1.3 mins, sitting down after standing too long 65 seconds, from monotony 32 seconds, and so the grotesque litany goes on. And that is the price we are paying at the point of production for our throw‑away cars and the kind of infrastructures which we’re building. But we are also dramatically de‑humanising people within industry. They now say that with these advanced computer systems, we should no longer think of human beings; we should think of human materials. One of the leading systems designers said the following, ‘If this provides us with sufficient handles on human materials, so that we can think of them as we think of metal parts, electrical power or chemical reactions, then we have succeeded in placing human material on the same footing as any other material, and can begin to proceed with our problems of systems design. There are, however, many disadvantages in the use of these human operator units. They are somewhat fragile, they are subject to fatigue, obsolescence, disease and even death. They are frequently stupid, unreliable, and limited in memory capacity. But beyond all this‑they sometimes seek to design their own circuitry, and that in a material is unforgiveable, and any system utilising them must devise appropriate safeguards.’ So in other words that which is most precious about a human being, the ability to think for themselves, is now said to be an attribute which should be suppressed by technology. It seems to me entirely consistent that the military industrial complex, which says that you should think of human materials, not human beings, can then quite easily take that little extra step and say it’s allright to eliminate human beings with the neutron bomb and leave property intact.
The last three points I want to make are these. As the problems I’ve described get worse and worse, they produce more technology to solve the problems. One of the big diversification programmes in a French aero‑space company has been to produce a “bolt-hole”. Those of you who know about nature will know that that’s what a rabbit runs through when it’s terrified. Using the most advanced techniques of sealing and silencing, they’ve produced this absolutely sound‑proof capsule. Depending on your level of neurosis, your psychiatrist can prescribe music, so you can lock yourself away in your own little private personal padded cell. In other words, you seal yourself off from the problems of society, rather than confronting them directly. I understand that these are selling in their hundreds to neurotic executives in France. It’s even portable, so you can take it out in the countryside, and you’re not even disturbed by the birds and the bees!
The second but last point I want to make is this. Right on the front page of our corporate plan, we make a major point that we hope we will see more women in science and technology. We looked at one of the leading computer journals over 18 months, and 82% of the adverts that showed one person with equipment, showed a young dolly bird type person, the male image of what a woman should be like. In other words, the idea that women are play‑things that you have around to sell the equipment. We say right on the front page of our corporate plan, that if only more women would come into science and technology, not as imitation men, or as honorary males, because equality can never mean sameness, but to point out that our Western science and technology is dominated by the predominantly male value system, the value system of the white, male, capitalist, warrior hero. It would be an incredible philosophical contribution if we inject into science and technology the so‑called female attributes of intuition, subjectivity and humanity.
The last point I want to make is that science and technology is not given. It’s not like the sun or the moon or the stars. It was made by people like us. If it’s not doing for us what we want, we have a right and a responsibility to change it. Increasingly we have been conditioned to believe that we should change ourselves to suit the technology, and it’s been done in all sorts of subtle ways. There is this very famous advert in Britain showing a woman suffering from what technology has done to her. She’s suffering from ‘high‑rise blues’ and the advert says very subtly that she cannot change her environment, (and I would ask why not) but it goes on to say that you can change her mood with a tranquiliser. Now it’s not pills and tranquilisers we need, but a clear view of what we want from science and technology, and the courage to stand up and do something about it.
I would like to thank the Right Livelihood Foundation for this very great honour that they’ve given us at Lucas Aero‑Space. I hope that we will be able to live up to the high aspirations of the Foundation. The entire sum of money is going to be used to develop the kind of products I’ve been showing you.
It’s frequently asked of me, ‘Do you really think that ordinary people can deal with these problems’? I personally have never met an ordinary person in my life. All the people I meet are extraordinary. They’ve got all kinds of skills, abilities and talents and never are those talents used or developed or encouraged. What we’ve got to remember, as we’re driven down this linear road of technology, is that the future is not out there someplace as America was out there before Columbus went to discover it. The future hasn’t got pre‑determined shapes and forms. The future has yet got to be built by people like you and I, and we do have real choices. It can be a future in which we are not threatened with mass annhilation through nuclear weapons or ravaged with hunger. It could really be a world in which we treasure all our people equally and get science and technology to serve people rather than the other way round. In a word, we could begin to perform the modern miracle, we could help to make the blind see, the lame walk, and we could feed the hungry.