December 01, 2003

Technological Determinism

So exploring some of my animist ideas further, I found a nice summary of technological determinism in philosophy. The basic idea is as follows:

Rather than as a product of society and an integral part of it, technology is presented as an independent, self-controlling, self-determining, self-generating, self-propelling, self-perpetuating and self-expanding force. It is seen as out of human control, changing under its own momentum and 'blindly' shaping society.

Although I don't agree with that statement as a philosophy, I do believe that it plays a part in the way that (some? many?) people think about technology. In other words, because some people think that technological artifacts exist in a quasi-separate world (for example, Mark Pauline of SRL has talked about freeing machines from their slavery to humans and Kevin Kelly quotes Pauline in the same paragraph as Marvin Minsky, who basically says the same thing), they are likely to interact with them as beings from a separate world.

It's interesting that there's a long history of people describing their discomfort with technology in anthropomorphic philosophical terms.

Posted by mikek at December 1, 2003 09:46 AM | TrackBack
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