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  • The instrumental conception of technology is Mary Tiles' and Hans Oberdiek's description of the theory that technological artefacts are value neutral. They attribute this belief to optimists, for whom technical instruments belong to the “the factual realm” and only acquire a positive or negative value through their development and use by humans “for good or evil”. This belief was encapsulated in David Sarnoff's statement made in an acceptance speech for his honorary degree from the University of Notre Dame: "We are too prone to make technological instruments the scapegoats for the sins of those who wield them. The products of modern science are not themselves good or bad; it is the way they are used that determines their value". According to Lelia Green, the notion technology is neutral assumes technological advances occur “in a vacuum”, the result of individual bursts of inspiration, or ‘Eureka’ moments, as the popular mythology of technology suggests. It also assumes technological development is inevitable, she adds, and for a technology to be neutral, it must be on a fixed “trajectory” following an “internal logic”.

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