Sunday, March 19, 2006
machines are eating us
Am reading Autonomous Technology by Langdon Winner (MIT, Cambridge, 1977). Am learning a lot. Am therefore pleased with self and object.
The picture of technological change that begins to emerge from our discussion is not that of a law-bounded process grinding to an inevitable conclusion. It is rather that of a variety of currents of innovation, moving in a number of directions, toward highly uncertain destinations.
...Robert Heilbroner concludes:
"Technological determinism is...peculiarly a problem of a certain historic epoch--in which forces of technical change have been unleashed, but when the agencies for control or guidance of technology are still rudimentary."
Perhaps the appropriate label for this state of affairs is not determinism at all, but instead, technological drift.
This was a statement from 1977, Berkeley, California, where I once lived, a statement about the non-inevitability of technology and technological change. But does not "technology" necessarily mean and simultaneously scream "CHANGE!", inherently?
Can we even conceive of a "frozen, non-evolving, static" technology?
Try as we might, we're doomed to fail. Life also is dynamic, like technology, which is, like it or not, simply a new, post-human form of life: it self-perpetuates and devours other living things, like humans.
Posted by steven edward streight at 3/19/2006 11:43:00 PM