Is technology a hazard or a wonderful tool?

An 1876 article in the NYT, titled ‘The Telephone’, proposed a “possibly sinister purpose” on the part of the telephone’s inventor, and that the instrument “may really be a device of the enemies of the Republic”.

The following year, the Times was similarly despondent about the newly invented phonograph, warning readers it would mean the end of book-making and reading.

While we might laugh now at such concerns as we fiddle with our smart phones, it’s interesting to consider some of the wider context of the times. The preceding decades had brought