The Megamachine: Lewis Mumford’s Critique of the Innovation Crowd

28 Apr 2016
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type

Gretchen Gano
Associate Director of Research, CSTMS

Many metaphors in social theory have sought to capture the energy of the crowd as an entity, describing the invisible hand of capital, the power of the state as Leviathan, the influence of networks, macrocognition, and even the concept of the singularity, a condition when artificial intelligence, human biological enhancement, or brain-computer interfaces converge to produce a superintelligence. This talk reinvigorates midcentury humanist & theorist of technology Lewis Mumford’s “megamachine” as an important metaphor for society engaged in scientific and technical innovation. While literature on the social construction of technology draws its notion of sociotechnical systems from Mumford’s foundational metaphor, the systemic critique Mumford intended to invoke is often missing. I explore the implications of this critique for the design of technology policy interventions.


This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  CSTMS

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