Collingridge dilemma

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

  • an information problem: impacts cannot be easily predicted until the technology is extensively developed and widely used.
  • a power problem: control or change is difficult when the technology has become entrenched.

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]


  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)