Technology, Complexity, and Engineering Design: A Rationale for a Connectionist Approach

Ermer, Gayle E.
March 2012
Perspectives on Science & Christian Faith;Mar2012, Vol. 64 Issue 1, p31
Academic Journal
The recent Fukushima Daiichi power plant failure has pushed nuclear system safety to the foreground of public awareness. Nuclear power plants are examples of the complexity of the engineered products that undergird contemporary civilization. The avoidance of technological failure depends heavily on accurately predicting, as part of the engineering design process, how complex technological systems and the individuals and societies with which they interact will behave. This article will recommend a connectionist rather than a reductionist approach to engineering design, in order to better compensate for the complexities and uncertainties inherent in technological activity. This approach is based on a Christian perspective of technology as a cultural, and therefore value-laden, activity.


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