Collingridge dilemma

The Collingridge dilemma is a methodological quandary in which efforts to influence or control the further development of technology face a double-bind problem:

The idea was coined by David Collingridge, The University of Aston, Technology Policy Unit, in his 1980 book The Social Control of Technology.[1] The dilemma is a basic point of reference in technology assessment debates.[2]

In "This Explains Everything," edited by John Brockman, technology critic Evgeny Morozov explains Collingridge's idea by quoting Collinridge himself: "When change is easy, the need for it cannot be foreseen; when the need for change is apparent, change has become expensive, difficult, and time-consuming." [3]


  1. The Social Control of Technology (New York: St. Martin's Press; London: Pinter) ISBN 0-312-73168-X
  2. Article by K. Böhle in TATuP, September 2009, pp. 121-125 (in German)
  3. "This Explains Everything" (Harper Perennial, 2013, p.255, ISBN 0062230174)
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