WVW is thinking about 'material curiosity' and we both end up reading through The Impact of Science on Society1, a publication based on four public lectures organised by the NASA Scientific and Information Branch in 1985.
"The main thing, it seems to me, is to remember that technology manufactures not gadgets, but social change. Once the first tool was picked up and used, that was the end of cyclical anything. The tool made a new world, the next one changed that world, the one after that changed it again, and so on. Each time the change was permanent. Using the tool changes the user permanently, whether we like it or not."
... and than he cracks a cold-war joke:
"Once when I was in Moscow talking to academician Petrov, I said, 'Why don’t you buy American computers to get you into space quicker and more effectively?' He replied, 'No fear; they'd make us think like Americans.'"
Isaac Asimov contributes to the series by paraphrasing his own 'Three Laws of Robotics':
"[T]he first rule of any tool is that you operate it safely. Any tool that is going to kill you when you use it is not going to be used. It won’t even be used if it merely maims you! The second rule is that a tool should do what it is supposed to as long as it does so safely. And the third rule is that a tool ought to survive its use and be ready for a second use, if that can possibly be arranged."
At the Q and A, an audience-member asks:
"If computers eventually get rid of all the drudgery, will humans actually be capable of taking advantage of that, and how?"
... and Asimov answers:
"They would not be put to work doing things that are stupid enough
for a computer to do but would be encouraged to do things that are
more human. (...) Maybe if I lived in the 21st century, they would say,
'Nice stories, Asimov, but anyone can do it'"