Eugene Polley (November 29, 1915 – May 20, 2012) was an engineer and engineering manager for Zenith Electronics and most widely known for inventing the wireless remote control
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drowning by the pool by colodio cc by nc sa technology as developing independent from social concerns. They would say that technology creates a set of powerful forces acting to regulate our social activity and its meaning. According to this view of determinism we organize ourselves to meet the needs of technology and the outcome of this organization is beyond our control or we do not have the freedom to make a choice regarding the outcome.Soft determinists still subscribe to the fact that technology is the guiding force in our evolution, but would maintain that we have a chance to make decisions regarding the outcomes of a situation. This is not to say that free will exists but it is the possibility for us to roll the dice and see what the outcome is.
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In the April 1935 issue of the magazine Everyday Science and Mechanics, the ‘next logical step in the world of publishing’ was envisioned: a mechanical microfilm reader mounted on a large pole that would theoretically allow you to sit back in your armchair and scroll through the pages of a book with the push of a button. Of course, unlike the modern iPad, which offers the same function, it’s not exactly portable – much less so than the book sitting on the table right next to the illustrated man.
As envisioned in the 1930s and 1960s using radio and satellite technology, respectively, the future of newspapers would involve home printing machines that spit out the day’s news automatically each morning and evening. Philco-Ford’s Newspaper Printer, featured in an episode of the CBS show ‘The 21st Century’ entitled ‘At Home, 2001′, “provides a summary of news relayed by satellite from all over the world,” says narrator Walter Cronkite. “Now to get a newspaper copy for permanent reference I just turn this button, and out it comes. When I’ve finished catching up on the news I might check the latest weather. This same screen can give me the latest reports on the stocks I might own.”
How can you determine whether you will have a successful marriage? According to an April 1924 issue of Science and Invention magazine about scientific love matching, you simply hook yourself up to a mating machine that measures your physical attraction and sympathy for your chosen partner. Recording the pulses of couples and checking their breathing while they embrace, and making sure they feel ‘sympathetic enough’ while watching their partner undergo an unpleasant procedure like having their blood drawn may not sound all that outrageous, but two other tests were even stranger. In the Body Odor Test, one partner is placed inside a capsule while the other is asked to take a sniff; if they don’t find the smells too objectionable, they’re probably a good match. The Nervous Disorder test aims to find out whether couples are too nervous around each other by testing their reaction to a surprise gunshot in the air.
Throughout the 20th century, visions of the future often assumed that our 21st century lives would be full of leisure thanks to machines and automated processes. By the year 2000, they figured we’d only have to work for part of the week, and robots would do all the hardest labor. Radio-controlled farm robots, as envisioned in the syndicated comic strip Closer Than We Think!, would virtually eliminate the need for manual labor in fields. And in the March 1931 issue of Country Gentleman, the ‘farmer of the year 2031′ tends his farm virtually from a large flat-panel television.
A 1910 call for predictions about the year 2000 included this vision of how students will learn, one not far from what Teach Paperless sees. Image: French National Library.
Vita Radium Suppositories c:a 1930 image not CC licensed.
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1. Technologies of control & desire
Mathias Klang @klangable
2. Can you make an ethical choice?
3. Which choices don’t need to be ethical?
4. Ethical zones
Ethical choices Effects on
Effects on non-feeling
beings, ecosystems &
5. The non-choice choice: ethics without
thought? Why did you drink coffee this morning?
6. Which reasoning makes a choice ethical?
a very very
Mill - Good
Bentham - Happiness
Duties – not impulses
Veil of ignorance
8. Where technology?
9. Technology: techne (art) & logos (discourse)
• T as object
– Tools, instruments, machines…
• T as knowledge
– How to make and use the objects
• T as activity
– Methods, routines & skills
• T as sociotechnical system
– Design, development & control
10. In America I had arranged with a gramophone
firm to make some of my music. This suggested the
idea that I should compose something whose length
should be determined by the capacity of the record.
Igor Stravinsky (1925)
11. Technological determinism
12. determinism Nothing to be done.
of its social
14. We role the dice
Hard vs soft determinists
15. L. Winner: do artifacts have
16. Who creates what controls us?
18. Euphoric optimism
20. …you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they
will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will
appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be
tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.
The Phaedrus (ca 370 bc)
21. “The word written on parchment will last a thousand years. The printed
word is on paper. How long will it last? The most you can expect a book
of paper to survive is two hundred years.” Johannes Trithemius (1494) In
Praise of Scribes
22. Rail travel at high speeds is not possible because passengers, unable to
breathe, would die of asphyxia. Dionysius Lardner (1830) The Steam
23. No one will pay good money to get from Berlin to Potsdam in one hour
when he can ride his horse there in one day for free. William I of Prussia
(1864), on the invention of trains
24. Newspapers & Telegraph create nervous
disorders by exposing people to "the
sorrows of individuals everywhere”
George M Beard (1881)
25. These talking machines are going to ruin the
artistic development of music in this country.
When I was a boy...in front of every house in the
summer evenings, you would find young people
together singing the songs of the day or old
songs. Today you hear these infernal machines
going night and day. We will not have a vocal cord
left. The vocal cord will be eliminated by a
process of evolution, as was the tail of man when
he came from the ape.
John Philip Sousa (1854 – 1932)
26. Today’s discussion
27. Google 1999
28. Orwell v. Huxley
29. Destroying Culture & Knowledge
30. Censorship v. Information overload
31. Captives v. Trivial
32. Fear & Pain v.
Entertainment & Stimuli
33. Check out Evgeny Morosov!
35. Mathias Klang
firstname.lastname@example.org or @klangable
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