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Lim JUS394 Utopian Dystopian

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  • 1. Utopian vs dystopian visions JUS 394: IT & SOCIAL JUSTICE at arizona state university tempe, january 29th, 2007 professor: merlyna lim
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  • 5. UTOPIA Eu-topos: denoting a region of happiness and perfection Ou-topos: naming a region that nowhere exists. “ GOOD PLACE” Utopia as a possible response given to anxieties and pessimistic perspectives as well as to unsatisfied hopes and dreams of people, predominantly epitomizes an ideal and desired place which more or less sharply contrasts to the 'hic et nunc' of the place of reality.
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  • 7. UTOPIA: A society or place that is perfect or ideal Technological utopianism is a form of analyses that places the use of some specific technology; computers, nuclear energy, or low-energy low-impact technologies as the central enabling element of a utopian vision. Technological utopianism does not refer to a set of technologies. It refers to analyses in which the use of specific technologies plays a key role in shaping a utopian social vision in which their use easily makes life enchanting and liberating for nearly everyone.
  • 8. DYSTOPIA A society or place whose imperfection is perfect or who's evil is ideal In contrast, technological anti-utopianism examines how certain broad families of technology facilitate a social order that is relentlessly harsh, destructive, and miserable.
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    • UTOPIAN NARRATIVES
    • Order is good. Most utopian narratives will take an instrumental view of technology, meaning:
    • Technology is a product of humans in the service of humans
    • It may be used for good or ill
    • It is able to be mastered
    • Technology can better our lives by making them more ordered
    • Technology can solve problems, even problems that technology creates. As a result problems are solved by increasing complexity and increasing order
    • Progress is an essentially good thing and progress requires order
    • Secrecy enhances freedom and privacy
    • Secrecy is power
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    • DYSTOPIAN NARRATIVES
    • Technological Innovation is always resisted
    • Fear of technology in the workplace; Fear of replacement
    • Technology changes behavior and patterns of behavior
    • Technology is connected to or evolves into the state, creating a state of "authoritarian information technology"
    • basic assumptions individual obedience to governmental authority
    • government creation of a rational social order
    • control is maintained by a technocracy
    • Technology is panoptical
    • Information Overload
    • Confusion ; Quality vs. Quantity
    • As instrumental technology is unable to be mastered, people become more "objects" to be "ordered". Humans, as essentially "unordered" or "unpredictable" threaten order
    • Technology becomes about surveillance, yechnology stiffles freedom and privacy
    • Secrecy is institutionalized; Privacy is outlawed
  • 11. believe it or not......... futurists tend to repeat the same utopian narrative..... for each and every emerging technology........
  • 12. Does it not mean the breakdown of artificial national barriers and the welding of humanity into one composite whole? Does it not mean that each is given a chance to comprehend the significance of national and international affairs, and that all the evils of jealousy and hatred being thus displayed before the world will no longer fester, but be cleansed by the antiseptic of common understanding and common sense?
  • 13. Does it not mean the breakdown of artificial national barriers and the welding of humanity into one composite whole? Does it not mean that each is given a chance to comprehend the significance of national and international affairs, and that all the evils of jealousy and hatred being thus displayed before the world will no longer fester, but be cleansed by the antiseptic of common understanding and common sense? Radio (Lewis, 1924: 144)
  • 14. When we entered Cambridge [Mass. USA] we found an apathetic, dispirited community, afraid to discuss its problems. In the past few weeks we have watched a ferment grow in this town. We have watched people as they began to talk about their problems in the open - for the first time. This talk need not, and must not, end with the .......................
  • 15. When we entered Cambridge [Mass. USA] we found an apathetic, dispirited community, afraid to discuss its problems. In the past few weeks we have watched a ferment grow in this town. We have watched people as they began to talk about their problems in the open - for the first time. This talk need not, and must not, end with the television program Community television (Siepmann, 1952)
  • 16. ………………… .. will be subversive to any group, bureaucracy or individual which feels threatened by a coalescing of grassroots consciousness. Because not only does decentralised …………………. serve as an early warning system, it puts people in touch with each other about common grievances.
  • 17. Community video will be subversive to any group, bureaucracy or individual which feels threatened by a coalescing of grassroots consciousness. Because not only does decentralised community video serve as an early warning system, it puts people in touch with each other about common grievances. Community video (Shamburg, 1971)
  • 18. ………… ...: the awakening of a new era. The town comes into the village, the village comes into the town, the separation comes to an end, town and village merge more and more. ………………………………………, that is the new time with richer, broader and more mobile civilisation, a back to nature which however, keeps all advantages of culture.
  • 19. The bicycle: the awakening of a new era. The town comes into the village, the village comes into the town, the separation comes to an end, town and village merge more and more. Cyclisation: the era of the bicycle, that is the new time with richer, broader and more mobile civilisation, a back to nature which however, keeps all advantages of culture . (Schroderin about 1873, quoted by Timm, 1984:149)
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    • Over the course of a few years a new communications technology annihilated distance and shrank the world faster and further than ever before. A world wide communications network whose cables spanned continents and oceans, it revolutionised business practice and gave rise to new forms of crime. Romances blossomed. Secret codes were devised by some and cracked by others. The benefits of the network were relentlessly hyped by its advocates and dismissed by the sceptics. Governments and regulators tried and failed to control the new medium and attitudes to everything from news gathering to diplomacy had to be completely rethought.
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    • Over the course of a few years a new communications technology annihilated distance and shrank the world faster and further than ever before. A world wide communications network whose cables spanned continents and oceans, it revolutionised business practice and gave rise to new forms of crime. Romances blossomed. Secret codes were devised by some and cracked by others. The benefits of the network were relentlessly hyped by its advocates and dismissed by the sceptics. Governments and regulators tried and failed to control the new medium and attitudes to everything from news gathering to diplomacy had to be completely rethought.
    • The telegraph, mid 1840s (Standage, 1998)
    • .
  • 22. Technology is socially constructed • Technological determinism: T drives history NO! • Technology is neutral: effects depend on chosen use (“guns don’t kill people, people do”) NO! • Technology is socially constructed: – The technology could have been otherwise – All technologies embody social and political contingency e.g. design decisions reflect social, political, economic circumstances – Artefacts have politics; politics are inscribed in technology so that technology appears neutral. – What we think are choices are actually responses to a socially and politically impregnated technology
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