Founder of Electric Minds

The kind of thinking that makes it possible for all these people to expound upon "the single most important invention of the last two thousand years" is the most important invention of the past two thousand years. There is no such thing as the single most important invention of the last two thousand years. The evolution of technology doesn't work like that. It's a web of ideas, not a zero-sum game.

Knowing how to turn knowledge into power is the most powerful form of knowledge. The mindsets, mindtools, and institutions that make massive technological progress possible are all part of an invisible cultural system — it is learned, not inherent, it was invented, not evolved, it hypnotizes you to see the world in a certain way.

What we know as "technology" the visible stuff that hums and glows — is only the physical manifestation of a specific kind of social system. That invisible system, which emerged over the past three centuries — what Jacques Ellul called "la technique" and Lewis Mumford called "technics" — is more important than all the inventions it engendered.

Do we lack one important invention at a crucial time when our inventions are becoming our only evolutionary competitor? We haven't formulated and agreed upon a way of making good decisions about the powerful technologies we're so good at creating. We have a lot of the knowledge that turns knowledge into power. We need more of the wisdom that knows what we ought to do with the power of invention.