That is, the technology is far ahead of the industry, and whether the industry, which is an element of American enterprise occupied and managed by human beings, can hold its own as such an element is a matter of some doubt.
In the background of reports on the status of the information-technology industry is a germane but not infrequently overlooked fact: that the enormous technical strides in the field are on a course that overlaps and converges with human behavior and institutions. Why that is relevant to this research may be discerned in a remark made as long ago as 1983, when momentum in the high-tech industry was just beginning to build: that as a practical matter, a definition of technology was becoming increasingly difficult to settle on. because of the all-too-human values into the service of which technology was being pressed even then, "correct usage of the word in its original sense seems almost beyond recovery" (Pacey, 1983, p. 3). Accordingly, wrote Pacey, the concept of technology were best approached "as a human activity and as a part of life . . . not only as comprising machines, techniques and crisply precise knowledge, but also as involving characteristic patterns of organization and imprecise values" (p. 4).
That analysis yields two contradictory inferences at the same time. One is that high technology proceeds well in advance of human capacity to cope with it instrumentally and practically