Can We Survive Technology? — John von Neumann (1955)

"Literary and figuratively, we are running out of room"

“The great globe itself is in a rapidly maturing crisis—a crisis attributable to the fact that the environment in which technological progress must occur has become both undersized and underorganized.”

By 1955 mathematician John von Neumann (1903-57) had been diagnosed with what was likely either bone, pancreatic or prostate cancer. Accounts differ on which diagnosis was made first. He was 51 years old. Following two years of illness which towards the end confined him to a wheelchair, he eventually died on the 8th of February 1957.

The same year he was diagnosed, an essay von Neumann had authored was published in the June issue of Fortune Magazine. Entitled ‘Can We Survive Technology?”, the essay discusses the threats that may result from ever-expanding technological progress in a finite world.

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