Autonomous Technology: Technics-out-of-control as a Theme in Political Thought

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MIT Press, 1978 - Science - 386 pages
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The truth of the matter is that our deficiency does not lie in the want of well-verified "facts." What we lack is our bearings. The contemporary experience of things technological has repeatedly confounded our vision, our expectations, and our capacity to make intelligent judgments. Categories, arguments, conclusions, and choices that would have been entirely obvious in earlier times are obvious no longer. Patterns of perceptive thinking that were entirely reliable in the past now lead us systematically astray. Many of our standard conceptions of technology reveal a disorientation that borders on dissociation from reality. And as long as we lack the ability to make our situation intelligible, all of the "data" in the world will make no difference. ;From the Introduction

 

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Contents

Introduction
2
Mastery and Its Loss
18
Chapter 2
44
Technological Evolution
57
Technological Determinism
73
Uncertainty and Unintention
88
Chapter 3
107
The Search for a New Ethic
130
Master and Slave Revisited
187
Transformation and Incorporation
208
Reverse Adaptation
226
The Technological Imperative and the State
251
Chapter 7
279
The Loss of Agency in Technological Systems
295
Technology as Legislation
317
Notes
336

Technocracy and Liberalism
146
Chapter 5
173

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About the author (1978)

Langdon Winner is the Thomas Phelan Chair of Humanities and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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