ERIC Number: EJ682697
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Dec
The Novelty Trap: Why Does Institutional Learning about New Technologies Seem So Difficult?
Industry and Higher Education, v18 n6 p349-355 Dec 2004
The emerging controversy over nanotechnology is redolent of the pattern of past disputes over new technological fields, which the author describes as the "novelty trap." In each case, ambitious claims for revolutionary innovation are met by sceptical concerns about unintended consequences and new risks, to which advocates respond with reassurances of continuity with past experience. The paper goes on to identify possible obstacles to institutional learning that may result in the repetition of this pattern, including three versions of the deficit model of public understanding. Finally, the author poses the possibility that the pattern itself may represent an emergent form of societal technology assessment, which embodies informal social learning.
Descriptors: Information Technology, Socialization, Business, Social Sciences, Scientific Attitudes, Scientific Enterprise, Mass Media, Social Problems, Conflict
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A