Is technology taking us collectively away from science? by Etienne Klein | ECHO SCIENCES

If Diderot or d’Alembert, when designing their Encyclopedia, chose to insert numerous plates and illustrations explaining the function of a large number of technical objects, it is by virtue of a principle which seems to go without saying: technical objects , by becoming visible and familiar, are implicitly vectors of scientific knowledge; the more we encounter them in everyday life, they believe, the better we understand the scientific principles that made them possible. The encyclopaedists therefore did not anticipate another reality that would gradually prevail over time: the more complex a technological object is, the more its use tends to be simplified. Thus, almost none of us can tell how a mobile phone works, which does not prevent us from using it without having to consult any instructions. Thus certain technical objects, both familiar and extraordinarily complex, end up masking or marginalizing the scientific knowledge of which they are nevertheless the consequences. This knowledge is then perceived as practically useless – useless in practice – and therefore simply useless. What can the popularization of science in such a context consist of?

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