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The Story of Industrial Civilization: Safety

February 20, 2022 at 10:00 am - 1:00 pm PST

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Progress writer Jason Crawford is writing a book about the modern world and how it was invented. In a series of salons, we will explore this content together, chapter by chapter, and get an inside look at the author’s creative process.

Behind the world of our daily lives, there is a hidden world, one that keeps our world running. It is an industrial world, one of factories, engines, chemicals, and infrastructure, that most people rarely notice or appreciate. But every piece of it is a solution to a problem: a way to satisfy human needs in the face of nature’s constraints.

Session 10 – Safety:

The pre-industrial world was a dangerous place. Great fires raged and burned entire cities to the ground, ships were often lost at sea, storms could wash out roads and bridges, and flood farms and towns. There was little to no warning of, or protection from, natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or volcanoes. Plague and famine were common. In many ways, technology has made us safer, at least on a day-to-day basis, as evidenced by the great improvement in mortality rates and life expectancy. But technology also creates its own risks, such as industrial accidents, car and plane crashes, and the health risks of chemicals and radiation. And new technologies, such as genetic engineering or AI, may create even greater risks—perhaps even “existential risks” to our species. How has safety been achieved in the past? How does technology create risk as well as safety? And how can we have both safety and progress?

Crawford will open the salon by talking about his research and writing on the topic so far, followed by discussion and Q&A.



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February 20, 2022
10:00 am - 1:00 pm PST
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