Knowing Machines: Essays on Technical Change

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MIT Press, 1998 - Science - 338 pages
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Ranging from broad inquiries into the roles of economics and sociology in theexplanation of technological change to an argument for the possibility of "uninventing" nuclearweapons, this selection of Donald MacKenzie's essays provides a solid introduction to the style andthe substance of the sociology of technology.

The essays are tied together bytheir explorations of connections (primarily among technology, society, and knowledge) and by theirgeneral focus on modern "high" technology. They also share an emphasis on the complexity oftechnological formation and fixation and on the role of belief (especially self-validating belief)in technological change.

Two of the articles won major prizes on their originaljournal publication, and all but one date from 1991 or later. A substantial new introductionoutlines the common themes underlying this body of work and places it in the context of recentdebates in technology studies. Two conceptual essays are followed by seven empirical essays focusingon the laser gyroscopes that are central to modern aircraft navigation technology, supercomputers(with a particular emphasis on their use in the design of nuclear weapons), the application ofmathematical proof in the design of computer systems, computer-related accidental deaths, and thenature of the knowledge that is needed to design a nuclear bomb.

  

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Review: Knowing Machines: Essays on Technical Change

User Review  - Ken-ichi - Goodreads

Not really sure I want to read all of this, but I remember reading some of them in school and they were interesting. Uninvention is an interest of mine. Read full review

Contents

Marx and the Machine
23
Economic and Sociological Explanations of Technological Change
49
4
67
5
82
Nuclear Weapons Laboratories and the Development of Supercomputing
99
99
116
6
131
7
159
10
201
Tacit Knowledge and the Uninvention of Nuclear Weapons with Graham
215
Notes
261
Index
333
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About the author (1998)

MacKenzie holds a Personal Chair in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh.

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