Many years ago, I saw a poster whose message has forever remained etched on my mind. It was a poster on the
As the threat of a nuclear disaster looms large on
Repeatedly, this is the scenario we face, not just in case of nuclear, but in several other areas. They – in their supreme arrogance – assure us that it will not happen. And it does, with a monotonous certainty. This is especially true with technologies that are “highly advanced”, so advanced that no one except the scientists, engineers and of course the companies that sell them can know anything about the impacts of these technologies. And we are supposed to take them on faith, place complete trust in their sophisticated knowledge that “it can never happen.” Do we have a choice?
I think we do, but the choice has to begin far more upstream than present. It has to begin at the stage where the directions of the technologies themselves are evolving. In this, I am reminded of another poster message that I have seen. It is about all the old and new and great technologies like nuclear, genetic modification, massive dams in fragile environments and many others where the assertion is made that “this is a fail safe technology”. The poster says, “We don’t want fail safe technologies, we want technologies that can fail safely.”