By Alfred Barratt Brown
‘This is one of the most interesting, informative and insightful books I have encountered on this topic. It is both cautionary and inspirational �
Although it was published in 1934 when the author was Principal of Ruskin College, Oxford, its great strength is that it still provides a multidisciplinary framework in which to consider how to progress further the matters addressed. It shows the need to campaign for socially useful systems in an era of exponential technological change, when the gap between technology’s potential and its reality becomes a yawning chasm.
Those initiating technological change usually provide an account of its positive features only. History shows, however, that it is a double-edged affair, a form of Faustian exchange. The author deals deftly with this by providing a sort of balance sheet of the gain and losses of such systems �
This is indeed a tour de force and is written in a form that makes it not only accessible but a delightful read. It should be widely read and discussed, not least in departments of engineering and design, as works of this kind are surely as important as mathematical or machine theory.
The Barratt Brown family are to be thanked for making this book available for republication, and Spokesman Books should also be thanked for making it a reality.’
Mike Cooley, from his new foreword