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he can the united states has thrust itself onto an expressway to the future at a time when no status is quote and changes implicit were hurtling into a new age that few of us can predict and even fewer understand the technology and tomorrow can make our efforts and today seem like childish experiments norton we depend upon the decisions of yesterday to solve the problems to come both science and technology faced an immense challenge to control over his forces science and technology are set in motion mastering our own future is indeed a race against time i'm david taught science editor for national educational television we have with this on this program two men who can give us a glimpse of the future and hopefully help us to understand both are scientists and leaders whose contributions to science and society are helping to invite us into our electronic age dr simon ramo is vice chairman of the board of directors at rw incorporate
a major technological firm which he helped to found and engineering graduate from the california institute of technology dr ray more rapidly gaining world prominence as a pioneer and microwave research and as a developer of the electron microscope before the age of thirty he'd accumulated twenty five patents and been voted one of america's most outstanding young electrical engineer is dr ramo also became one of the top experts in guided missiles and ultimately the chief scientist of the nation's intercontinental ballistic missile program combining the role of scientists the industrialist he's one of america's key advisors on science and technology dr leading bridge is president of the california institute of technology one of the most advanced research and educational centers of the world cal tech as not only responsible for the training of key scientists in our country but is directly involved in the exploration of space for the facilities of its jet propulsion laboratory that didn't recuse himself a widely honored physicist but perhaps more importantly he's repeatedly called
upon to serve his trusty an advisor for government and private programs that probably affects all aspects of our society as a distinguished member of both the scientific and academic community that a new bridge is highly qualified to eliminate the problems of our world of tomorrow together the newbridge and dr randall represent the common ground of science and the ties and conflicts of the industrial an academic world record for leadership in the future the oatmeal as an example one of the technological advances have a great effect on our society and our social structure and has come from a troublesome traffic slow in highways over the place now i'm sure that mr connell use the open the idea of the sort of surgery couldn't possibly everest in the mexican side having knowledge would result in an internal combustion engine remove those letters of m in the thing which we are in tripoli albeit on and what's happened is that
the idea of an internal combustion engine and will build unit was so fascinating and so successful that people just bought so many of them nor the place and has looked over as a failure as a technological devices such a tremendous success that people have got so many of them well social success of technology efforts there bullies mr collum yeah a very good example of course the new growing complexity of the interface of technology with society but i have to say first i couldn't help but notice how you arrange somehow in bring up mr karnow to eliminate any possibility of responsibly on his part the pure scientist and as one that set matzo puritanism industrial scientists i'm an engineer and i think in terms more of the applications as at least my bread and butter and my area of responsibility i've been happy to notice in some ways that the public is a sufficient confused as to what is a scientist or engineer pure and
applied a day will blame the scientists are some nice things and those of us who are engineers don't have to go it alone and before scalia's latest moves villagers lined with investors are some call a scientist when i met with them with scientist and call an engineer in your brain your calls religion or fruit ariel israel media as we start this discussion that you as the academic manners the present cal tech we have to do with definitions of what these professions are at rep lahti clear on that commission say you wanna try some receive a recently use them throughout what's not your life size of what send engineers over a confusing business because we talk about the space program was a great scientific achievement was mostly engineers about so i think will remember the scientist someday somebody is searching for new knowledge and he's a successful science you find something about the laws of nature about the way nature behaves baby with a little sightseeing the biological sciences it is
like to be the academics or so just examining assured to us to find out how the world is the fellow somebody comes along and thinks of babies illinois would be useful for some follow me as a minor some promise of interest the company works for amanda discuss he has a hunch that the same might have use for a petition and so we sort of call him applied science two takes a lot of science that's already in existence and carries on and develops and maybe you forget about the moment as in the case of the automobile many other situations that we see we have some critical problems in may a working see organizations it and i probably i guess we'll get to some examples that's far more consequential than a amadeo we we noticed that there isn't a professional group that is concerned with this very matter of interface between science in society or if there were perhaps a they should be sitting here instead of us of course the social scientists for many
kinds of those are cars on the bones of society but there were if you're the letters ending the technological problems which medium to the problems of society but i think that in a kind of a new kind of profession maybe the social engineer who really makes it a point to examine the technological impact of new industrial and other elements on the society in which it has used but we can we can look at nuclear power and observe that we have this tremendous capability to release a massive energy sufficient in a few seconds to destroy society long before we have social advances sufficient to preclude that or are we now one fact some of the scientists at cal tech have done as much as any one or perhaps more than than almost any other group to to break the genetic code we're about to enter a new period of advances in biology at the same time we have a population explosion concerned i'm a birth control problem
every other prom of automation we can fix it so that we can produce automatically the maternal require most of the world but are we heralding that is a great achievement were what scared about where we're afraid of dislocations there two problems here one is understanding what the dislocations are and where they stem from how they affect individuals and groups and communities and nations and goes to do something about it the social scientists in the world are studying these problems on the impact of technology in order to get their ideas and their recommendations on their cure is not adopted an expert politician ammon shea i have to go the local government the state government or the national government because usually these things involve doing something on more than just those very small scale maybe a passing a law maybe i'm and coordinating a whole lot of things around the country that have to do it through the smog problem for example you get into a national problem or implement any ideas that you're social
engineers if you had them at the developer's a lot of the normal process of the government for the most part to cure these well jimmy government politicians these are words that remain about the voting public the people of the united states and what we're saying really unbelievably is this that the rate of technological advance in the last century lasted several decades has far outstripped the social organization advance and this of course means that we the people haven't yet come to understand the importance of what's happening there is the impact of science and technology our society so we don't set up arrangements it's shown by the lack of a professional class that but that isn't at the starting point it is the most fundamental thing there
would be a professional group there would be a large a fraction of our brain are going into understanding his interface problems if we're clear to the mass of people and this brings up an effect which is quite important and mitch mcconnell working last century couldn't have foreseen the automobile which was one result of his wordy at the joe venuti letters diaries and found that this morning it was human error scientist journalism his aides however things are happening fast to sign that it has given a practical application faster and take this fall agenda generics already the geneticist who been instrumental in cracking the genetic code knowing the structure of the gene mowing a way in which the molecules are put together to determine the way in which a social growing divide and eventually develop into a for a human being to say once they begin to see the mechanism for that already they can see that this can be changed that if you understand the structure of the gene you can change and
change a stretcher a genial change the nature of the creature that develops sorry the scientists are beginning to predict that heralded great social changes know how to do it you have the technology hasn't been invented or even far but already the scientists they're beginning to look at and say this is something we better began thinking about what we argue about this knowledge of the genes as a thing it didn't happen a century ago i think if the young jam up in the use of the new discovered newly discovered principles in genetics twenty thirty fifty years today is as badly handled as the traffic problem appears to be as most of our city problems as water pollution as a transportation even between cities as getting to the airport in this air travel age that we're going to have it a terrible mess on our hands and
in control of the nature of people are now that's the way of destroy society they're still another way and that is at least my my definition would be the destruction of society as we know it and other big old world sort of a robot civilization as we marry the computer and as we find that everything that we do in life can by virtue of the mass handling of information in the control of operations automatically give us a semiautomatic society so that in a sense everyone and everything is in the right place in the right time all according to carefully control plan and so we can allow this tragedy to happen to ourselves you say if we don't understand society not our choices it doesn't have to go that we know and besides we are looking much further in the future than most of us are able to to see an enormous thing about genetics of mentioning that as maybe looking into the century
ahead the trouble is that people think that ride today we have some very urgent problems and saw an israeli born understand the nature of them i hear people say as science colorado says technology hundred grand isn't rooted in the literal robot world that you're talking about having no control over our destiny of science come around our lives this seems to me a really badly misunderstood kind of philosophy and part of us i ever heard anybody because it's just knowledge people run themselves with the way they use their tools when a man showed himself with a revolver as a sinful the revolver is because this man doesn't have any sense that seems to me that society as likely to be shooting itself with the technological devices available which are intended for very beneficial proposals and that proved to be very beneficial and very useful and very desirable but somehow we turn around of ignorance
shoot ourselves with them if we can learn to how to use these things in a proper respect ever propose that is an approach would be much easier to see if we're out somewhat prejudice since we are so close to the scientific engineering technological field even though we obviously each of us have reasonable exposure to the other side also but one of things i'd say implicit and workers say here is that science and technology are tools decided to use surely to understand the universe better to understand what the laws of nature shirley to provide to maine ways in which he can communicate move about produce what he needs for is a thrill comfort atrocities ways to the society curator these are these are benefits and there's nothing in the you might say the cha after that an engineer or scientists as sets up
for himself that suggests that he is responsible for ensuring that the tools are properly used in fact they're part of the difficulty is that there are going to be differences of opinion as to what the proper usage from now i think we also said that is probably so big however that it is everyone's problem is a scientist from as a citizen not as a professional and contribute to that solution as professional i mean it should be an articulate citizen and i'm making these remarks to lead up to something that i think you would be very useful for us to discuss the mechanism of the public understanding and making the right decision these days includes i consider a lot of their food by the government not everything could be done clearly by the government has existed a war by free enterprise by free citizens ice pulls a problem to be solved the government for example clearly is the one to take technology and uses for
national defense is no question about that and at least if we can argue about the efficiency we don't argue about it the concept and neat and the scheme of organization similarly private industry can manufacture and developed the end result if the public wants that there's a market and do this in such a way that it has a sound quality nie is economical it means there is late profit was returned as a benefit and people are going to pay for not a lot of things right in between private industry for example we can solve the smog problem because it's not clear who would how the customer is to be and to provide that the return and there are numerous other such examples we have got a system for this and we look to government for leadership now how many cars and how many senators have engineering or technical battle or seven to get there and
how do you get across and some of the nature of the technology of limitations and its possibilities for good or evil to enough people so that they can elect congressman who understand those are built for congressman miller stand up for help help their congressman to understand it and make it clear to their congressman in horrible ways if any the government can and must move into this picture it's a politician i suppose of the border we can't say the border why don't you elect an engineer occasionally or more often there are a few scientists and engineers in public office there have been i guess it's george washes time weakling him as an engineer remembers when franklin is a science what he was as he was of the techno sociologist politically cunning econo technical sociologist and we're talking about the term it won't do have just one every hundred years there are some in government
they're now some are quite high levels of course they're critically high levels in the direction of government projects of her technical and i don't think it's quite counts were talking about the interface areas but the public is he can't be blamed because it doesn't have someone to vote for him as his background people who are trained in science and engineering very rarely seek to influence public affairs by way of that kind of leadership they regard themselves as specialists they're upset because now but the way in which directors run our standpoint of this discussion that overly now there's much more that can be done the solutions to the problems besides technology brings and solutions to many other provinces size of technology did not bring such as overpopulation well sciences is in part responsible because there are fewer deaths yes we really suffering a new postponed their friend the smell turned out to be a bad thing we think we forget the enormous benefits that have come
along with of these unfortunate things which are largely emphasizing everybody grants the benefits to mankind of scientific discovery and the application of two engineering development everybody goes beep some people are being developed this well what i think it's important to make is all relative what's the alternative you can't serve number one you can go back as they waited about a hundred years as you indicated you can't turn off the gasoline supply mr sides to come to a halt and alm wants that now the the kinds of things the size technology makes it possible that we are not now using one of course afford such a security or civilization that if you if you imagine for a moment and i'm speaking now the incentives are there if you imagine for a moment a society and more intelligent life somewhere out the universe on some other planet in which they learned how to sort of either society to use science technology to the fullest for the benefit of mankind or whatever they call their kind of where it's
it's very very tempting to move more of ar total amount of creative talent and effort to that the disease as technology makes it possible to put more time on what we can produce things we automatically that we don't have to spend so much time and effort in that kind of more mundane producing in the shuffling of papers and me in the running of the production operation the assurance of raw material be the right place then a large a fraction of our citizenry can work on the social problem when we tie all the logistics of the world together through computers so that indeed everything needed the producers at the right place at the right time then it means we on that we would have to evolve a common language because the computer watson information put down rationally as an economical designed bb of four train <unk> as we all depend on the computer for the control of hamlet of information to produce for the world we are in effect sharing our information with a computer and the computer
presses us to have a common language and we have communication satellites so we can the closer in thinking all over the world when some people are terrified of these but this picture and i think there's the reasons that the results of a maybe terrifying but on the other hand their money enormous benefits for world peace or world understanding and a free man from from the drudgery and labor's you is that was a great thing to have machines that would that free men from labor now i think it's a terrible thing automation is freeze them from having the works long hours but all these things can be a great benefits if we can find ways in which to accommodate a month or so it was a great for thinking there's a great fear of man is being replaced asylum shane than this is focus on justified fear except in the short term has to be an individual man who was being replaced earlier today of course as a justified fear
but so i'm sure i correct analysis a correct description of what is happening is that man and machine in partnership will be afforded the opportunity to rise to a higher level of civilization to add to produce what we need to move things and people about as required the greatest east to have a controlled a greater amount of energy in the end does raise man to a higher level in the same sense that when fried of the knee for using man's muscles for the heaviest a type of work early possibly that exists for man to rise to the level of controlling the machines which the dirt around right so we just have to understand our machines better understand ourselves a little bit less than that to limit the opportunities there that's right it's all hearsay to be the right balance and i guess what i'm really saying is that
things have to get worse before they get better in one sense that you can count on things getting worse when they get worse they'll be more people that are willing to take your problem as one little problem i don't worry about them at the time as a problem then it's probably maybe a pretty bad run well the problem is here now i would i would guess that converting this analogy and as imagined trip out to visit other planets for the moment as opposed to some intelligent life comes by to visit us what would a look at well i think they would have the discipline and why they say it was a nice place to visit we were more live there because if they could come here now they must be advanced at least technologically because we don't really know how to take people are two planets outside of the solar system and dumb and they learn how to do that so in some ways at least there ahead of us and doesn't even have
destroyed their society so become here and what would they were with a look at what's the most important thing to observe about us why submitted isn't temperature pressure and what kind of love moms and values that we have on the surface of the earth it is to look at the nature of our life here but i would guess that maybe the most important question that would ask even ahead of how well do we understand the laws of the universe is how well are we applying them i say this because learning how to relate science and technology to society appears to be a more difficult intellectual discipline represents a higher order of intelligent life than even even than discovery of more laws of science so they look around disabled this is what these are people have learned the universe and this is how we're using it and then got a long ways to go well we could excuse or so listen after hours work in science for two three hundred years but we've only been really faced with
social problems for fifty years or less so there was a lot of years but you know i'm robin philomena luciani social problems that are greatly influenced by what technologies for social problems i suppose the man who was the first one killed in war by an owl from a more narrow the first use of that terrible new weapon system probably about world is getting worst dsm technology has a tremendous impact of bowlers hang himself as the year that the ground better and the large is probably true that we have been in for some time the science age of mankind your honor we we're trying to break into the social page and were very inexperienced with both with both of them were quite young in terms of human experience that is my feeling very fast it might be the biggest dreamers these visitors might also about her
notes that while we are not very advanced they're just entering the social age that maybe i won't make the return trip fairly soon because there may be some interesting changes here on earth we're about regime will survive to make the return trip well i have a copy of the next generation our journey into the future is going to be a bumpy one of the changes we face will be monstrous steven of his generation who has lived on the edges about respects the dangers of miscalculation and misjudgment or a constant peril for our scientists and leaders and we as citizens can afford to hold on to the myths and misunderstandings that have kept science and society to separate topics the blending of science and society must be achieved to reach the highest aims of our civilization the technology will exist for us to extend our minds and manpower to the limits of our universe and will continue to grow whether we like it or not
but the race against time can be won if we have the courage and the foresight to write there are
Episode Number
Science and Society: A Race Against Time
Producing Organization
KCET (Television station : Los Angeles, Calif.)
National Educational Television and Radio Center
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Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
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Episode Description
Science and Society: A Race Against Time brings together two of Americas most distinguished men of science, Dr. Lee A. DuBridge, president of the California Institute of Technology, and Dr. Simon Ramo, architect of the United States missile arsenal, in a discussion of the growing gap between science and the society it serves a gap which threatens our very future on this planet. There are many myths about the future impact of technology on society which must be explored and exploded if we are to cast some light on tomorrows world. Dr. Ramo and Dr. DuBridge attack the myth of the robot society and 1984. Dr. Ramo points out that science and technology are tools for advancing social maturity, but if we ignore their implications, we cannot and will not use these tools to their fullest advantage. We are therefore in a race against time. As Ramo sees it, all social problems result from the success of technology, not its failure. Those who attempt to understand our society, he says, must come to recognize the impact of physical science on it. We can look at nuclear power and realize that we can destroy society long before we know how to prevent that destruction. We now understand the genetic code but we are not able to affect birth control. DuBridge calls for a new profession, that of social engineers, with the role of relating technology to society. He points to the necessity of both understanding the problem and being able to do something about it. The social engineer would have the responsibility of bringing pressure to bear on the government for the passage of legislation needed in this area. Ramo says the rate of technological advance has far outstripped social advance, a situation pointed up, he says, by the very lack of DuBridges social engineers. If genetics are as badly handled as smog or transportation, he states, then we are going to have a terrible mess. It is one way of destroying society. We could become a robot society as we marry the computer. We are becoming an automated, mechanical society. To DuBridge, such a situation is very far ahead, but there is a real fear that science is a threat. The idea of science ruining our lives is silly. Science hurts no one. Society hurts itself. We somehow turn around and use useful things for our own destruction. Its an improper use of science. Imagine, Ramo says, extraterrestrial life visiting us. They are advanced beyond us or they wouldnt be here. What they would look for is how well we are applying the laws of the universe, because application of what is learned is more important than learning new laws. For some time weve been in the science age, now were trying to break into the social age. I have great confidence in the next generation. Spectrum - Science and Society: A Race Against Time is a 1967 production of National Educational Television. This program was produced through the facilities of KCET-TV, Los Angeles. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
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Spectrum consists of 101-142 half-hour episodes produced in 1964-1969.
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Executive Producer: Prowitt, David
Guest: Ramo, Simon
Guest: DuBridge, Lee
Host: Prowitt, David
Producer: Mossman, Tom
Producing Organization: KCET (Television station : Los Angeles, Calif.)
Producing Organization: National Educational Television and Radio Center
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Library of Congress
Identifier: cpb-aacip-62585333b0b (Filename)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
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Chicago: “Spectrum; 52; Science and Society: A Race Against Time,” 1967-03-12, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 20, 2022,
MLA: “Spectrum; 52; Science and Society: A Race Against Time.” 1967-03-12. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 20, 2022. <>.
APA: Spectrum; 52; Science and Society: A Race Against Time. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from