The world is in turmoil: we are witnessing steep social and environmental challenges. Technology is identified as both cause of and solution to these challenges. How can we use technology to solve problems - without creating new ones? Engineering the Future, Understanding the Past discusses the role of engineering in our age of grand challenges - by drawing lessons from the past. Since the birth of modern engineering roughly two centuries ago, technology has helped to reshape our modern world. At the same time, social challenges have shaped engineering science and practice. This book examines why and how engineers have engaged in solving social challenges -challenges for society, for business, and for users. It also asks why some technological solutions have unexpectedly created new problems. And it studies how engineers have coped with technology's puzzling ability to both help and harm.
Erik van der Vleuten is Professor of History of Technology at the Eindhoven University of Technology and scientific director of the Foundation for the History of Technology SHT. He studies the historical co-construction of infrastructure, societal, and environmental changes. Recent books include Europe's Infrastructure Transition: Economy, War, Nature (Palgrave, 2015) and The Making of Europe's Critical Infrastructure: Common Connections and Shared Vulnerabilities (Palgrave, 2013).Ruth Oldenziel is Professor of American-European History of Technology at Eindhoven University of Technology. Her most recent books are Cycling Cities: The European Experience (2016), Cycling and Recycling: Histories of Sustainable Practices (2015), Hacking Europe: From Computer Cultures to Demoscenes (2014), and Consumers, Tinkerers, Rebels: The People Who Shaped Europe (2013). Mila Davids is Assistant Professor of History of Technology at Eindhoven University of technology. She studies the role of technology in business history. Books include Innovatie en kennisinfrastructuur: vele wegen naar vernieuwing. (Amsterdam, 2013)